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'Lynching On One Pretext An Invitation To Next Lynching On Some Other Pretext' : Delhi Court Denies Bail To Members Of Lynch Mob

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
17 May 2021 3:08 PM GMT
Lynching On One Pretext An Invitation To Next Lynching On Some Other Pretext : Delhi Court Denies Bail To Members Of Lynch Mob
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"The courts cannot countenance any such othering or hate and must apportion their social sensitivity and judicial time to clamp down on this crime".

Lynching on one pretext is an invitation to the next lynching on some other pretext, observed a Sessions Court in Delhi, while denying bail to three persons who were accused of lynching a person in 2019.Additional Sessions Judge Vishal Gogne of Dwarka District of Delhi was considering the bail applications of three persons Dharmender, Munesh and Gajende, who have been in...

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Lynching on one pretext is an invitation to the next lynching on some other pretext, observed a Sessions Court in Delhi, while denying bail to three persons who were accused of lynching a person in 2019.

Additional Sessions Judge Vishal Gogne of Dwarka District of Delhi was considering the bail applications of three persons Dharmender, Munesh and Gajende, who have been in custody since October 2019 for lynching one Vijay Kumar on suspicion of him being a child-lifter.

In the 12-page order denying bail, ASJ Vishal Gogne made certain pertinent observations on the gravity of the crime of lynching and how it militates against ideals of democracy and rule of law.

After referring to the 2018 verdict of the Supreme Court in the case Tehseen Poonawalla vs Union of India which called for a law against mob-lyncing, the Court observed that the plea for bail must also factor in the social context of the crime.

"Much like incidents of dowry deaths and offences against women are unhesitatingly identified and commented upon in judicial orders as a reflection of social malaise, the act of lynching a human life must also be recognized as an expression of a creeping social reality. This reality indubitably is intolerance", the order said.

Tracing the psychology of the members of a lynch-mob, the Court said that they are "fuelled by hateful intolerance" and are driven by two desires : One, the othering of a particular individual or group on the basis of a manufactured hate against the individual or group. Two, the vigilante mob then acts as an extra judicial authority to carry out a de facto sentence.

"Almost never is the incident a case of actions taken just in the heat of the moment. The actions which result in lynching are evidently conscious, premeditated and executed till the gory end.The social context of mob violence is thus an identifiable factor in determining aggravated gravity when the courts decides the plea for bail. Any reticence of judicial observation would then be anathema to justice in a social context .If dominant social tendencies are seen as encouraging of a destruction of rule of law,the societal impulses which feed the crime must inevitably be highlighted as contributing to a greater gravity standard", the Court said.

Referring to the evidence on record, including CCTV footages, the Court noted prima facie that the accused "acted as accuser, adjudicator and also the executioner".

Grave spectacle which unfolded during the event

The Court also mentioned about the grave spectacle which unfolded during the lynching event on October 22, 2019.

"Many by standers clicked pictures of the assault. Accused Munesh, Dharmender and Anil are themselves are seen filming the assault. Others continue to talk and joke as the victim continued to be thrashed. Apparently, for a society now normalised into accepting intolerance and summary street justice, the business of life could go on while the life of a fellow human was being extinguished. Small children also witnessed the incident in apparent dehumanisation not only of the victim but also their innocent psyche. To cap the unfortunate incident, accused Lal Babu is seen sadistically pouring water on the head of the victim. To the absolutely deranged senses of the victim, the splashing of water was as much a shock inducing moment as it was a mockery of his plight".

In this backdrop, the Court observed that to accept that either accused allegedly inflicted non lethal blows without intention to kill or knowledge of the nature of their act would be a travesty of ordinary prudence.

"To release accused persons prima facie involved in lynching would project a failure of the rule of law.  It would also constitute a failure of the court to begin the push back against those locked in a battle with liberal and democratic ideals"

"Undoubtedly, a lynching on one pretext is an invitation to the next lynching on some other pretext. The courts cannot countenance any such othering or hate and must apportion their social sensitivity and judicial time to clamp down on this crime", the Court said.

"The courts cannot countenance any such othering or hate and must apportion their social sensitivity and judicial time to clamp down on this crime", the Court added.

Apathy of investigating officers

The Court also made certain observations regarding the 'apathy' of the investigating officers towards the victim.

"When the police arrived after multiple calls, the victim had already been apparently left for dead by the assailants. However, a further 15 minutes lapsed before the victim was untied and laid to the ground by the police officers. No effort at checking for life or first aid was made. The video reveals the body to be stiff as it is lowered to the ground. It was still the gumption of the Investigating Officer to have stated in the chargesheet that the unconscious victim was taken to the hospital and declared dead on arrival...

The police apparently treated the victim as a child lifter too and accepted his summary fate. Such apathy cannot be risked with respect to witness protection and compensation".

In this context, the Court quoted from George Orwell's  essay 'Freedom of the Park' written in the year 1945-" Governments make laws, but whether they are carried out, and how the police behave, depends on the general temper in the country.

Click here to read/download the order



















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