Two anti-lynching Bills being examined by Centre

The GoM headed by Amit Shah will suggest measures to combat lynchings. File photo: Nagara Gopal   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

The anti-lynching Bills passed by the Rajasthan and West Bengal Assemblies last month will have to be cleared by the Union Home Ministry before they become law.

On August 5, the Rajasthan Assembly passed the Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019 providing for life imprisonment and a fine from ₹1 lakh up to ₹5 lakh to those convicted in cases of mob lynching leading to the victim’s death.

A senior official in the Rajasthan government told The Hindu that the Ministry was examining the Bill and it would respond to clarifications sent by them, if any.

On August 30, the West Bengal Assembly passed a Bill to prevent and punish mob assaults and lynching.

The West Bengal (Prevention of Lynching) Bill, 2019 proposes a jail term from three years to life for those involved in assaulting and injuring a person and also defines terms such as “lynching” and “mob”. The State also proposed the West Bengal Lynching Compensation Scheme.

The Centre has reconstituted the empowered Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Home Minister Amit Shah to suggest measures to combat lynchings, but a senior government official had indicated that a new law was unlikely as existing laws were enough and the problem was that of enforcement of the rules.

Three-way examination

Under norms of the Union Home Ministry, the State laws are examined from three angles — repugnancy with Central laws, deviation from national or central policy and legal and constitutional validity.

An official said since such consultations required interactions with various Ministries or departments, no time frame could be fixed when the Bills would be cleared. Based on the comments by the Ministry, the President rejects or gives assent to a Bill.

‘Horrendous acts’

In 2018, the Supreme Court condemned the increasing number of incidents of mob lynchings across the country, calling them “horrendous acts of mobocracy” and had then asked Parliament to make lynching a separate offence.

Meanwhile, last month, the Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh withdrew two laws passed by the Assembly under previous Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

The Andhra Pradesh Protection of Depositors of Financial Establishments (Amendment) Bill passed in 2015 and the Andhra Pradesh Money Lenders Bill, 2017 were being examined by the Ministry before they received assent from the President.

The Andhra Pradesh government withdrew the two Bills on August 27 and 31, respectively.

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Printable version | Nov 23, 2021 10:33:03 AM |

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