Anti-violence Bills still await presidential nod

Legislations were passed by Rajasthan on Aug. 5; civil rights groups raise concern

Published - September 01, 2019 12:34 am IST - JAIPUR

Civil rights groups in Rajasthan have expressed concern over delay in the presidential assent to Bills against mob lynching and honour killing, which were passed by the State Assembly on August 5, holding up the process for their enforcement.

Since some punishments laid down in the two Bills were higher than those in the Central statutes, the assent of the President, rather than the Governor, is essential. The State government sent the Bills to the Ministry of Home Affairs earlier this month to be forwarded for the President’s consent.

People’s Union for Civil Liberties-Rajasthan president Kavita Srivastava said here on Saturday that since the MHA was sitting on the anti-mob violence Bill sent by the Manipur government since January this year, the fate of the two Bills of Rajasthan was likely to be the same.

“The MHA seems to be have put these Bills in cold storage,” she said.

“Our concern regarding the fate of the two Bills also stems from the fact that the Ministry of Home Affairs has not been interested in the enactment of legislation on lynching and honour killing crimes,” Ms. Srivastava said, while pointing out that the Group of Ministers to tackle lynchings, headed earlier by Rajnath Singh and now by Amit Shah, had not met.

“The Centre’s view submitted to the Supreme Court in the Tehseen S. Poonawalla case was that the Indian Penal Code and other existing laws were enough to handle the lynching-related violence,” Ms. Srivastava said.

As regards the honour crimes law, the rights groups felt that the political parties, particularly the BJP, did not wish to interfere with the violence of the families, ‘Khaps’ and caste panchayats. The PUCL called upon the State government to put pressure on the MHA to the get the Presidential assent and said it would launch a campaign to get the President to sign the two laws.

Both the Bills have made stringent provisions of punishment and penalties for the offences of mob lynching and honour killing, making them cognisable and non-bailable offences.

Those convicted of the crimes will be punished with life imprisonment and a fine up to ₹5 lakh.

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