New law to curb lynching unlikely

Union Home Minister Amit Shah looks on during an event in New Delhi on August 18, 2019.   | Photo Credit: PTI

An empowered Group of Ministers, headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, to suggest measures to combat mob lynchings is yet to meet, but a senior official has indicated that a new law on such crimes is unlikely.

The official said the existing laws were enough to combat crimes like lynching, and all it required was “enforcement”. “There are enough laws to deal with lynchings; it is a matter of enforcement. The police need to be trained to ensure conviction in these cases,” the official said, when asked whether the Centre was considering any amendment to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to prevent lynchings.

On August 5, the Rajasthan Assembly passed a Bill, the Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019, providing for life imprisonment and a fine of up to ₹5 lakh for persons convicted of lynching. It will be examined by the Centre before it becomes a law as it seeks to amend the IPC.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) examines Bills passed by State assemblies that are repugnant with Central laws before they get President’s assent to become a law. As per rules, the President has to go by the advice given by the Council of Ministers, in this case represented by the MHA.

The official said several meetings were held with social media platforms to initiate action against persons spreading rumours that led to such crimes. “We ensured that they appoint a representative here so that police complaints are acted on in real time as their headquarters and servers are located in foreign countries,” he said.

Last month, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State governments on a plea seeking the implementation of its July 2018 judgement laying down several preventive, remedial, and punitive measures to combat the crime of lynching.

The GoM on lynching was constituted in the previous term of the Narendra Modi government. It met on two occasions then.

In May-June of 2018, more than 20 people were lynched based on fake posts or rumours of child-lifting shared on various social media platforms. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) does not maintain data with respect to lynching incidents in the country and the incidents are listed crimes like murder.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 11:38:31 AM |

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