States’ lax response to lynching

Source: The post is based on the article “States’ lax response to lynching” 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: This article discusses the Supreme Court’s request to several Indian states to respond to a petition by the National Federation of Indian Women. This petition addresses the states’ alleged inaction against mob violence targeting Muslims and seeks justice for the victims based on a previous court judgment against vigilantism.

About National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) petition.

Concern: NFIW raised issues regarding inaction against mob violence targeting Muslims.

Highlighted Incidents: Examples include the lynching of a man in Haryana for transporting a cow and two men attacked in Odisha on suspicion of smuggling beef.

Court Response: The Supreme Court asked various states to address these concerns, referencing a past judgment against vigilantism.

Desired Outcomes: NFIW seeks police examination, constitutional violation checks, compensation for victims, and consistent support for affected individuals.

What was major judgment related to mob violence and lynching?

Tehseen Poonawala vs. Union of India case (2018):

Key Points:

The state has a “sacrosanct duty” to protect citizens’ lives.

Vigilantism, whether cow-related or otherwise, was condemned, with warnings against anarchy and chaos.

State authorities must prevent any form of vigilantism.

What were the seven remedial directions given by the SC to States?

Seven Remedial Directions by the Supreme Court

  1. Nodal Officer Appointment: States must appoint a nodal officer, not below the rank of Superintendent of Police, to address bias-motivated crimes.
  2. Immediate FIR Lodging: For any lynching or mob violence incident, local police must promptly file an FIR.
  3. Informing the Nodal Officer: The officer registering the FIR must inform the district’s nodal officer.
  4. Victim’s Family Protection: Measures should be in place to protect victims’ families from further harassment.
  5. Investigation Monitoring: The nodal officer should personally oversee crime investigations.
  6. Compensation Scheme: States should establish schemes to financially support victims.
  7. Official Accountability: Officials failing in their duties regarding lynching incidents will face disciplinary action, potentially leading to departmental actions.

How are States responding to the contempt petition?

Status Report: States are directed to provide year-wise data from 2018 detailing lynching incidents, FIRs registered, and actions taken.

Compliance Measures: The court accepted the Attorney General’s suggestion for the Ministry of Home Affairs to discuss the compliance steps with State department heads, based on the Tehseen Poonawala judgment.

Central Role: The Supreme Court asked the Centre to report on the outcome of this meeting.

Next Steps: The case will be revisited in October, with the states and Centre providing more insights into their measures and actions.

Read more: Committee to suggest necessary amendments in IPC, CrPC to curb mob lynching

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