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Anti-lynching Bills

Context:

Bills passed against lynching in the past four years by at least three States ruled by BJP rivals and one by the party itself have not been implemented, with the Union government taking the view that lynching is not defined as a crime under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

  • The Union Home Ministry informed Parliament in 2019 that there was “no separate” definition for lynching under the IPC, adding that such incidents could be dealt with under Sections 300 and 302 of the IPC which pertain to murder.
Relevance:

GS II- Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. Details
  2. What is lynching?
  3. What is the Mob Lynching Law in India?
  4. Causes for Mob Lynching
  5. Government steps so far

Details:

In 2017, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) collected data on mob lynching, hate crimes and cow vigilantism, but the figures were not published and the work was discontinued as these crimes are not defined and the data were found to be unreliable.

Jharkhand: On December 22, It passed the Prevention of Mob Violence and Mob Lynching Bill, 2021, providing for punishment ranging from three years to life imprisonment. The Bill awaits the Governor’s assent.

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

West Bengal: On August 30, 2019, It passed the West Bengal (Prevention of Lynching) Bill, 2019, that proposes a jail term from three years to life imprisonment for those involved in assaulting and injuring a person and also defines terms such as “lynching” and “mob”. The government also proposed to set up the West Bengal Lynching Compensation Scheme.

Manipur: In 2018, the Manipur Assembly passed the Manipur Protection from Mob Violence Bill, recommending life imprisonment for those involved in mob violence if it led to death. The Bill is still being examined by the Ministry. The Ministry examines State legislation on three grounds — repugnancy with Central laws, deviation from national or central policy, and legal and constitutional validity.

What is lynching?

  • Collective lynching is an extreme act by a group of violent people who attack another person, sometimes leading to the informal execution of one person.
  • India has witnessed mob lynching for centuries.
  • Statistics on mob lynching in India show that India has not been very successful in handling the problems of mob violence.

Causes for Mob Lynching:

  • Intolerance: People are intolerant in accepting the acts of law and go on to punish the alleged person assuming the act to be immoral.
  • Biases: Biases based on various identities like caste, class, religion, etc: mob lynching is a hate crime that is rising due to the biases or prejudices among various castes, classes of people, and religions.
  • Rise of Cow Vigilante: It is one of the crucial reasons that agitate the growing rise in mob lynching activities.
  • Lack of Speedy Justice: Inefficient working of justice rendering authorities is the primary reason why people take law into their own hands and have no fear of the consequences.
  • The Inefficiency of Police Administration: Police officers play an important role in protecting the life of the people and maintaining harmony among the people but due to their ineffective investigation procedure, this hate crime is rising day by day.
Types of Mob-lynching: 
  • Communal based
  • Witchcraft
  • Honour killing
  • Bovine-related mob lynching
  • Suspicion of Child lifting
  • Theft cases

What is the Mob Lynching Law in India?

  • Mob lynching is a violation of article 21 of the Indian constitution as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • There is no specific definition of mob lynching in the IPC. Mob Lynching is considered a crime under Section 300 and 302 of the IPC.
  • In 2018, the Supreme Court cited the lynching of the mob as a “horrendous act of mobocracy.”
  • The bill against communal violence was approved by the Supreme Court in 2018 considering the provisions of Manav Suraksha Kanoon (MASUKA).
    • MASUKA is a law against mob lynching, which gave the legal definitions of Mob, Lynching and Victim.
  • In addition, the Court ordered the Central and State governments to draft laws and guidelines to deal with compensation for victims, fast-track trials, and appropriate actions against the offender.

Government steps so far

  • States such as Manipur, West Bengal and Rajasthan have passed laws against mob lynching.
  • The State Law Commission of UP recommended jail terms ranging from seven years to life imprisonment for those convicted for mob lynching. In its draft legislation, the commission also recommended, “up to three year term for dereliction of duty by a police officer or a district magistrate.”
  • Two high-level committees have been constituted by the Central government to suggest ways and legal framework to effectively deal with incidents of mob violence and lynching.
  • One of the committees is being headed by Union Home Minister and the other by Union Home Secretary.
  • Central government on its part has asked states to appoint a nodal officer in each district to prevent the incidents of mob violence and lynching

-Source: The Hindu

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