Mincing no words, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra today said all killings and violence in the name of cow vigilantism must end and people shall not be allowed to take law into their hands.
After hearing senior advocate Indira Jaising who appeared for Tushar Gandhi, one of the petitioner seeking action against cow vigilantism, and social activist Tehseen Poonawalah's lawyer, CJI Misra orally observed: "Centre says there is a law in place. Then such incidents have to be curbed.People cannot be allowed to take law into their hands. This must stop.This is not permissible".
Jaising argued: "centre says they do not support but even after that statements innocents getting killed. They also say FIRs being lodged. But we do not want to come to court when people are dead..we have to prevent it"
The Modi Government had on July 21 made a categorical statement before the Supreme Court that they do not support any cow vigilantism and said it will be soon stated in an affidavit.Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar appearing for the Centre also said these were issues of state subject being subject of law order and it was for the state’s to control them.
The bench however asked the Centre and States to file affidavits within four weeks. The AG also said the Government has made a statement in parliament that states are taking action in each case and accused have been jailed.
State of Gujarat told the bench stern action had been taken.
From The Order
"When we are going to pass an ad interim order, Mr. Tushar Mehta, learned Additional Solicitor General appearing for the States of Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan submitted that these States will nominate a senior police officer of the Police Department as the Nodal Officer in each District, who shall ensure that these vigilantes do not take law unto themselves or behave in a manner that they are the law in themselves. If any kind of deviancy takes place, the said Nodal Officer shall take action and such vigilantes are booked in accordance with law with quite promptitude".
An issue has been raised by Ms. Indira Jaising, learned senior counsel with regard to patrolling on the highways so that such crimes are stopped. Mr. Tushar Mehta, appearing for the States of Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra and Rajasthan shall obtain instructions in this regard and also apprise what steps have been taken by the said four States. As far as Highway patrolling is concerned, the Chief Secretary of each State, in consultation with the Director General of Police shall take steps and file affidavits by the next date of hearing"
Earlier Jaising submitted a list of 66 lynchings across the country. She also submitted another list of nine lynchings which took place after SG's assurance on July 21.
On April 7, the Supreme Court had formally issued notice to the Centre and some States on a petition which sought a ban on cow protection vigilantes for indulging in violence.
The bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra issued notice to Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand,Karnataka etc. where such vigilante groups are valid and given licenses....“We want their responses” the bench had said seeking replies within four weeks. That hearing had happened amidst nationwide outrage over killing of a man allegedly by a cow vigilante group in Rajasthan’s Alwar . Thereafter four at least four such incidents have been reported.
Agreeing to adjudicate on the raging controversy for the first time, a division bench of the Supreme Court headed by justice Dipak Misra onOctober 21 last year said it will examine the issue if the cow protection vigilate groups across the country should be banned for allegedly indulging in violence.
Let us go though the petition in detail. Yes we will examine the issue”, the bench had told Sanjay Hegde, the senior lawyer who appeared for social activist Tehseen Poonawalla who has filed a PIL on the issue and directed the registry to serve a copy of the petition to the Union of India “so that they can appoint a lawyer” to put forth their stand.
Poonawalla filed the petition in August last year seeking direction to the Centre and some states to take action against so-called cow vigilantes,who are allegedly spreading violence and committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities.
Read the Order and new PIL filed by Khudai Khidmatagar and Others