The SC has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the governments of Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Bihar, MP and Haryana an explanation for their “consistent failure” to act against lynching and mob violence committed on Muslims by cow vigilantes.
GS II: Governance policies and Interventions
Dimensions of the Article:
- Mob Lynching
- Supreme Court’s Observations
- Remedial Directions Given by the Supreme Court to Address Mob Lynching
- Contempt Petition
- This is in response to a petition filed by the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), highlighting that the “rampant rise” in lynchings violates constitutional guarantees provided under following articles of the Constitution–
- Articles 14 (equality before the law),
- Article 15 (religious non-discrimination) and
- Article 21 (right to life)
- Mob lynching is a disturbing phenomenon where common people take the law into their own hands and resort to violence, often resulting in the killing of individuals without due process.
- It involves violating the basic human rights of others in the name of achieving their distorted version of justice.
- Mob lynching is fueled by factors like intolerance, biases, and vigilantism prevailing in society.
- Lack of speedy justice and inefficiency in the police administration also contribute to this alarming trend.
Types in India:
- In India, mob lynching incidents are observed in various forms, such as communal-based violence, cow-related mob lynching, suspicion of child lifting, and theft cases.
Supreme Court’s Observations:
- The Supreme Court of India has taken note of the “alarming rise” in mob lynching cases despite a judgment in Tehseen Poonawala versus Union of India in 2018.
- The court has issued notices to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and police chiefs of six states to explain the rise in such incidents.
Significance of the Tehseen Poonawala Judgment:
- The Tehseen Poonawala judgment emphasized that it is the “sacrosanct duty” of the state to protect the lives of its citizens.
- The court highlighted the erosion of values of tolerance in society, leading to an increase in incidents of lynching.
- It pointed out bystander apathy, inertia of law enforcement, and the role of social media in exacerbating the problem.
- The judgment stressed that vigilantism, be it cow vigilantism or any other form, must not be allowed to take shape, as it leads to anarchy and disorder.
Remedial Directions Given by the Supreme Court to Address Mob Lynching:
- Designated Nodal Officer: Appointment of a designated nodal officer, not below the rank of Superintendent of Police, to take preventive measures against prejudice-motivated crimes like mob violence and lynching.
- Immediate FIR Lodging: Local police must immediately lodge an FIR if an incident of lynching or mob violence comes to their notice.
- Duties of Station House Officer: The Station House Officer who registers the FIR must inform the nodal officer in the district. The nodal officer should ensure that the families of the victims are spared from any further harassment.
- Personal Monitoring of Investigation: The nodal officer should personally monitor the investigation of the crime, ensuring that the chargesheet is filed within the stipulated period of law.
- Compensation Scheme: Implementation of a scheme to compensate victims of lynching and mob violence.
- Accountability of Officers: Any failure to comply with the court’s directions by police or district administration officers will be treated as an act of deliberate negligence and/or misconduct.
- Disciplinary Action: States should take disciplinary action against their officials if they fail to prevent an incident of mob lynching, despite having prior knowledge of it.
- The Centre and States are facing a separate contempt petition in the Supreme Court for non-compliance with the Tehseen Poonawala judgment.
- The court directed the State governments to provide year-wise data on complaints received, FIRs registered, and chargesheets filed in lynching cases, along with preventive and remedial measures taken.
- The Centre was directed to file an affidavit on the outcome of a proposed meeting between the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and department heads of State governments to discuss compliance with the judgment.
-Source: The Hindu