Other States

Bills against lynching, honour killing passed

The Rajasthan Assembly on Monday passed two separate Bills against mob lynching and honour killing, making stringent provisions of punishment and penalties for these offences that were made cognisable and non-bailable. While honour killing will be punishable with death sentence, those convicted of lynching will be punished with life imprisonment and a fine of up to ₹5 lakh.

With the passage of the Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019, Rajasthan has become the second State after Manipur to have a dedicated legislation that criminalises mob lynching as a special offence. The Manipur Assembly had passed a similar Bill in December 2018.

The State has witnessed several incidents of mob lynching since April 2017, when Haryana’s dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was killed allegedly by a mob of cow vigilantes on the Jaipur-Delhi national highway. The Bill was introduced by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal in the Assembly on July 30.

The Bill was passed in the House by a voice vote amid protest by the Opposition BJP, which wanted it to be referred to a select committee for getting public inputs. Speaker C.P. Joshi put the Bill to voice vote thrice on the demand of BJP MLAs that the members supporting and opposing the Bill be counted.

Opposition stand

During the debate on the Bill, Leader of the Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria said the Indian Penal Code already had sufficient provisions to penalise the offenders, while the Bill had changed an important definition by describing just two persons as a mob. He alleged that the Bill had been brought to please a particular community.

Other BJP MLAs said the Supreme Court had made a recommendation only to Parliament to enact such a law and it contradicted the related provisions of IPC. BJP legislator and former Jaipur Mayor Ashok Lahoti said the Bill seemed to be “in favour of cow smugglers” and had been brought as a move against the majority community.

Replying to the Opposition’s objections, Mr. Dhariwal said the Bill’s subject was part of the concurrent list and the State government had the power to bring such a legislation. He defended the definition of mob as two or more persons, saying two people had the ability to grievously harm the third person. He also described the Bill as a “progressive law”, which would promote social harmony.

Nodal officer

The Bill provides for appointment of a nodal officer of the rank of Inspector-General of Police to prevent lynchings and establishment of relief camps in safe zones for the victims. It defines lynching as an act of violence, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation and ethnicity.

The Bill against honour killing, titled the Rajasthan Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances in the Name of Honour and Tradition Bill, 2019, was passed after making a few amendments on the basis of suggestions given by some MLAs during the discussion.

The Bill has laid down death penalty or life sentence and a fine up to ₹5 lakh for killing a couple or either of them on the basis that their marriage had dishonoured or brought disrepute to the caste, community or family.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had announced enactment of laws against mob lynching and honour killing while replying to the debate on the 2019-20 State budget on July 16.

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Printable version | Jul 21, 2021 12:39:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bills-against-lynching-honour-killing-passed/article28827239.ece

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