SC warns States on compliance with order on lynchings, cow vigilantism

NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 7 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Friday took exception to the fact that only 11 of the 29 States and seven Union Territories (UTs) have filed reports on compliance of its order directing them to take steps to deal with mob lynchings and cow vigilantism.

 

A Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khawilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud granted the last opportunity to the defaulting States and UTs, warning that if they did not file their reports within a week, their home secretaries will have to appear in person before court.

 

During the hearing, the Centre informed the court that an empowered Group of Ministers (GoM) had been set up to consider framing law on mob violence following the cow vigilantism verdict.

 

The Bench was hearing a plea by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawala, seeking the initiation of contempt proceedings against Rajasthan officials, including its Chief Secretary and the police chief for the alleged violation of the court’s verdict in the alleged lynching of dairy farmer Rakbar Khan on July 20.

 

On July 17, the court said that “horrendous acts of mobocracy” cannot be allowed to overrun the law of the land, and issued a slew of guidelines to deal with mob lynching and cow vigilantism. It also asked the Centre to consider enacting law to sternly deal with such incidents.

 

The court directed state governments to designate a senior police officer, not below the rank of Superintendent of Police and assisted by a DSP, as nodal officer in each district to take steps to prevent mob violence and lynching. The two officers will in turn constitute a special task force to collect intelligence on those likely to commit such crimes or be involved in spreading hate speeches, provocative statements and fake news.

 

The states were given three-weeks time to identify places where instances of lynching and mob violence have been reported in the last five years. The Secretary, Home Department, of the states concerned, was asked to issue directions to nodal officers to ensure that the officer in-charge of police stations remain vigilant.