20 Nov 2023 2:29 PM GMT
The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that 28 states have appointed nodal officers in terms of directions in the 'Tehseen Poonawalla' guidelines in which the Court had issued guidelines to prevent mob violence and lynching. The status report was filed by the Centre in a batch of petitions seeking directions to prevent/curb hate speech.As per the Centre's status report, the States...
The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that 28 states have appointed nodal officers in terms of directions in the 'Tehseen Poonawalla' guidelines in which the Court had issued guidelines to prevent mob violence and lynching. The status report was filed by the Centre in a batch of petitions seeking directions to prevent/curb hate speech.
As per the Centre's status report, the States which informed that they have appointed nodal officers are : Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, UT of Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
On 25th August, while hearing petitions seeking measures to curb hate crimes, the Apex Court had sought responses from the state government on the status of their compliance with the 2018 guidelines requiring the establishment of district-level nodal officers.
"..Learned Additional Solicitor General states that the Home Ministry will ascertain and get information from the State Government(s) regarding appointment of the Nodal Officer(s), and status report will be filed within a period of three weeks from today. In case, any State government does not furnish information/ details, the said factum will be stated" the Apex Court had dictated in its previous order.
In its judgment dated 17. 07.2021, the Supreme Court had recommended that the Parliament may create a special law against lynching, asserting that “fear of law and veneration for the command of law constitute the foundation of a civilised society”. Along with this, the Court had also issued a slew of directions for prevention of mob lynching which included the appointment of nodal officers in every district in the country.
"The State Governments shall designate, a senior police officer, not below the rank of Superintendent of Police, as Nodal Officer in each district. Such Nodal Officer shall be assisted by one of the DSP rank officers in the district for taking measures to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching. They shall constitute a special task force so as to procure intelligence reports about the people who are likely to commit such crimes or who are involved in spreading hate speeches, provocative statements and fake news" the Apex Court had directed in its in 2018 judgment in Tehseen Poonawala V Union of India.
In August this year, after stressing the need for stakeholders to collaborate to find an enduring out-of-court solution to the problem of hate speech on an earlier occasion, the court suggested a plan of its own: a committee formed by the district police chief that would assess both the content and veracity of hate speech complaints and issue appropriate directions to the investigating officer or the chief of the jurisdictional police station. This committee would meet within specified timelines when they are apprised of any instance of hate speech and also periodically review the progress in all ongoing cases according to the suggestions floated by the bench.
Meanwhile, the court also permitted the aggrieved petitioners to concurrently approach the nodal police officers appointed in terms of the 2018 Tehseen Poonawalla judgment in which it had issued guidelines to prevent mob lynching.
Case Title: Shaheen Abdullah v. Union of India & Ors. | Interlocutory Application No. 149401 of 2023 in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 940 of 2022