Rap on the knuckles: Supreme Court has tried to hold States and Centre to account on mob violence

Source: The post is based on the article “Rap on the knuckles: Supreme Court has tried to hold States and Centre to account on mob violence” published in “The Hindu” on 31st July 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections

News: The Supreme Court criticized the Union and State governments for not acting against mob violence and lynchings, especially targeting Muslims and marginalized groups by “cow vigilantes”. Despite guidelines from a 2018 judgment, such incidents continue, with political influences playing a role.

What is Supreme Court view on mob violence and lynchings?

  1. Criticism of Governments: The Supreme Court has criticized the Union and State governments for their “consistent failure” to act against mob violence and lynchings over the past five years.
  2. Duty of the State: In the 2018 case, Tehseen S. Poonawalla vs Union of India, the Court emphasized that it’s the state’s “sacrosanct duty” to protect its citizens. They should prevent any form of “vigilantism”.
  3. Guidelines Issued: The Court provided guidelines in 2018. This included:

Appointing a nodal police officer in every district.

Identifying areas with recent mob violence.

Using police intelligence to tackle such incidents.

Sensitizing law enforcement.

Warning the public about the consequences of mob violence.

What should be done?

  1. Implement Guidelines: Governments should follow the 2018 Supreme Court guidelines, which include appointing nodal police officers and identifying violence-prone areas.
  2. Sensitization: The Home Ministry and State governments should sensitize law enforcement and the public about the repercussions of mob violence.
  3. Civil Society Action: Communities need to promote understanding and prevent the stereotyping of minorities. This will help curb mob violence and vigilantism.
  4. Political Accountability: In regions like Tamil Nadu, where secular movements are active, political leaders face backlash for any communal incidents. This level of accountability should be adopted everywhere.
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