GS Paper 2:
Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Bills passed against mob lynching in the past four years by at least four States have not been implemented with the Union government taking a view that lynching is not defined as a crime under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
- These states include Jharkhand, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Manipur.
Why have the bills been delayed?
In 2019, the MHA informed the Lok Sabha that it had received the bills passed by the State legislatures that have been reserved by the Governor for consideration of the President.
- The President has to go with the advice given by the Council of Ministers, in the case of such legislation, represented by the MHA.
- The Ministry examines the State legislations on three grounds— repugnancy with Central laws, deviation from national or central policy and legal and constitutional validity.
Recent incidents of mob lynching:
- In December 2021, a man was lynched to death by the Sikh Sangat (Sikh devotees) in Shri Harmandir Sahib Gurudwara (Golden Temple) in Amritsar over an alleged attempt to disrespect the holiest book of Sikh religion, Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
- In 2021 in Assam, a 23-year-old student leader was allegedly killed by a mob.
- In 2021 October a man was allegedly lynched, his limbs cut off and left to die at the Singhu Border, site of the farmers’ protest against the three farm laws.
- In 2021 August, a bangle seller in Indore was reportedly beaten up by a mob for allegedly hiding his identity.
- The man survived and was sent to judicial custody.
- In 2021 May, a 25-year-old Gurugram man was allegedly lynched when he went out to buy medicines.
What is meant by Lynching?
Any act or series of acts of violence or aiding, abetting (encouraging) such act/acts thereof, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation, ethnicity or any other related grounds.
How are these cases handled?
- Section 302 provides that whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine. Offence of murder is a cognisable, non- bailable and non-compoundable offence.
- There should be a “separate offence” for lynching and the trial courts must ordinarily award maximum sentence upon conviction of the accused person to set a stern example in cases of mob violence.
- The state governments will have to designate a senior police officer in each district for taking measures to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching.
- The state governments need to identify districts, sub-divisions and villageswhere instances of lynching and mob violence have been reported in the recent past.
- The nodal officers shall bring to the notice of the DGP about any inter-district co-ordination issues for devising a strategy to tackle lynching and mob violence related issues.
- Every police officer shall ensure to disperse the mob that has a tendency to cause violence in the disguise of vigilantism or otherwise.
- Central and the state governments shall broadcast on radio, television and other media platforms about the serious consequences of mob lynching and mob violence.
- Despite the measures taken by the State Police, if it comes to the notice of the local police that an incident of lynching or mob violence has taken place, the jurisdictional police station shall immediately lodge an FIR.
- The State Governments shall prepare a lynching/mob violence victim compensation scheme in the light of the provisions of Section 357A of CrPC.
- If a police officer or an officer of the district administration fails to fulfill his duty, it will be considered an act of deliberate negligence.
Need of the hour:
- Every time there is a case of honor killing, hate crimes, witch hunting or mob lynching we raise demands for special legislation to deal with these crimes.
- But, the fact is that these crimes are nothing but murders and the existing provisions under IPC and CrPC are sufficient to deal with such crimes.
- Coupled with the guidelines laid down in Poonawala’s case, we are sufficiently equipped to deal with mob lynching. However, what we lack is due enforcement of the existing laws and accountability of the enforcement agencies.
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- States which have passed laws against mob lynching.
- What is Poonawala’s case?
- What are the provisions available against mob lynching under IPC?
Mob Lynching has become a recurring phenomenon in India which is surging hate violence targeting religious and caste minorities. Explain the causative factors and suggest ways to address it.
Sources: the Hindu.