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Government inaction on lynch mobs under Supreme Court scanner

The lynchings are continuing despite the Supreme Court having come down heavily on such mobs

By Our Legal Correspondent in Calcutta

  • Published 27.07.19, 2:10 AM
  • Updated 27.07.19, 2:10 AM
The Supreme Court of India
The Supreme Court of India (Prem Singh)

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the Centre and the states on a public interest plea that seeks a direction to governments to implement the court’s July 2018 order to rein in lynch mobs.

The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta also sought the National Human Rights Commission’s views on the petition moved by the Anti-Corruption Council of India Trust, an NGO.

The petition cites a spurt in violence against the minorities during the past one year. It says that mobs claiming to be “protector(s) of cattle” have in many places lynched “many innocent Dalits and Muslims, merely on the suspicion of” cow slaughter.

According to the petition, the lynchings are continuing despite the Supreme Court having come down heavily on such mobs and passed a slew of directions to prevent such violence. It accuses the authorities of failing to follow up on the court directives.

The petition has urged the apex court to seek a status report from each state on the steps taken to implement the court’s earlier orders.

On July 17 last year, the apex court had castigated the rising trend of vigilantism, saying: “No act of a citizen is to be adjudged by any kind of community under the guise of protectors of law.”

It had ordered the appointment of all district superintendents of police as nodal officers to prevent and tackle vigilante violence, and directed fast-tracking of the cases, deterrent punishment for the guilty, and departmental action against police and district officials who fail to act against the perpetrators.

It said such inaction should be deemed an act of deliberate negligence.

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