Mob Lynching : SC Sternly Directs States To File Compliance Reports Within A Week
Centre and State Governments directed to give wide publicity that lynching and mob violence will invite serious consequences.
On Friday, the Supreme Court directed the defaulting states to file compliance reports with regard to its July 17 judgment on guidelines to prevent mob lynching and cow vigilantism. The Court's sternness was clear from the fact that it directed the personal appearance of Home Secretaries upon further default to ensure compliance.
After the verdict was rendered in July stipulating preventive and remedial measures in the wake of the rising instances of cow vigilantism and mob lynching, the matter was listed before a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice D. Y. Chandrachud and Justice A. M. Khanwilkar for examining the compliance reports by the states and the Centre. In its July 17 judgment, the SC had condemned the acts of lynchings and mob violence observing that "horrendous acts of mobocracy cannot be permitted to inundate the law of the land".
Senior Counsel Indira Jaising requested that the Supreme Court direct the states to disclose the names of the organisations accredited by them as the Societies for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals under Rule 3 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Establishment and Regulation of Societies for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Rules, 2001.
“Rule 3 enables states to give Authorisation to organised groups for preventing cruelty to animals...it is these civil society organisations which are engaging in vigilantism...these accredited groups have been accorded police power to stop vehicles or search premises and seize animals...”, advanced Ms. Jaising.
When the Chief Justice inquired if the Rules have been challenged, she suggested that if pending a challenge, a list of the societies is brought on the record of the court, it would greatly ease the identification of the perpetrators of mob violence.
Chief Justice Misra allowed Ms. Jaising to file a petition to challenge the Rules or seek the desired disclosure.
The contempt petition against the state of Rajasthan on account of the unfortunate Alwar lynching episode that transpired days after the July 17 judgment was also taken up.
Ms. Jaising questioned why no departmental action except a transfer was taken against three of the police officers who had prioritised bringing the cows to the nearest ‘gaushala’ over taking the victim to the hospital, by reason of which he had succumbed to his injuries. She also contended that the chargesheet in connection with the event has not been produced so far.
ASG Tushar Mehta informed the bench that, in pursuance of the service rules, the SHO has been placed under suspension in contemplation of disciplinary proceedings while the constables have been transferred. Further, he submitted that three out of the four accused have been arrested, the investigation ongoing in respect of the fourth who is absconding. He also advanced that the chargesheet under section 302 of the IPC shall be filed on Friday itself.
Attorney General K. K. Venugopal conveyed to the court that the Union of India has filed its report in pursuance of the July 17 decision. In the light of judgment having recommended the Parliament to consider enacting a special law to tackle the instances of mob violence, He also averred that the Empowered Group of Ministers is analysing the nature of legislation to be passed.
On being notified that as per the Office Report only 11 states have filed the compliance reports, the bench granted one weeks’ time to all states and UTs to do the needful, failing which it shall require the personal appearance of the home secretaries of the concerned states.
On Ms. Jaising’s suggestion, the bench directed all states to upload on their respective websites the steps they have adopted in this behalf so as to deter individuals against “unnecessarily taking the law into their hands”
Finally, the apex court required the Central and State Governments to comply, “without wasting any time”, with its direction to broadcast on radio, television and other public platforms that lynching and mob violence of any kind shall invite serious consequences.