The Supreme Court today gave the Centre and states a four-week deadline to implement suggested remedial and punitive measures in order to combat incidents of mob lynchings. It is the duty of the State to ensure law and order in the country, the Supreme Court said, observing that a “mobocracy can’t be allowed in a democracy.”
The Supreme Court also recommended that the government bring legislation that specifically targets lynching. Readers must note that the Supreme Court cannot direct Parliament or the government to draft any law or legislation, it can only recommend doing so.
“There can be no shadow of doubt that [government] authorities… have the principal obligation to see that vigilantism, be it cow vigilantism or any other vigilantism of any perception, does not take place,” the Supreme Court said, adding that when people or groups of people take law into their own hands “it ushers in anarchy, chaos, disorder and, eventually, there is an emergence of a violent society.”
Among the other observations the court made while hearing a bunch of petitions filed over recent cases of mob lynchings and vigilantism (some of which targetted cattle and cow traders) was: “No citizen can become a law onto himself… State should safeguard democratic and secular ethos. State has to be protect Constitution.”
COURT DIRECTS REMEDIAL MEASURES
The Supreme Court also suggested a number of remedial and punitive measures to prevent incidents of lynchings and vigilantism and asked the Centre and states to implement the measures within four weeks.
Among the remedial measures the Supreme Court suggested was the setting up of special or fast-track courts in each district to hear cases of lynching and mob violence. State governments have also been asked to prepare a lynching/mob violence victim compensation scheme.
The Supreme Court has also directed that the victim or the next of kin of the deceased in cases of mob violence and lynching receive free legal aid.
As a punitive measure, the Supreme Court has directed that time-bound action be taken against police or administrative officers who fail to comply with the court’s directive on investigating/trying cases of lynching.