Anti lynching bills passed by four states delayed
- Bills passed against mob lynching in the past four years by four states have not been implemented till now with the Union government has views that lynching is not defined as a crime under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Centre on Mob lynching
- The Union Home Ministry informed Parliament in 2019 that there was “no separate” definition for lynching under the IPC
- The lynching incidents could be dealt with under Sections 300 and 302 of the IPC, pertaining to murder.
NCRB data on mob lynching
- In 2017, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) collected data on mob lynching, hate crimes and cow vigilantism but it was not published
- This practice was discontinued as these crimes are not defined and the data were found to be unreliable.
Mob lynching bills by states
- Jharkhand: Jharkhand Assembly passed the Prevention of Mob Violence and Mob Lynching Bill, 2021, providing for punishment from three years to life imprisonment.
- Status: The Bill awaits the Governor’s nod.
- Rajasthan: Rajasthan Assembly passed the Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019, providing for life imprisonment and a fine from ₹1 lakh to ₹5 lakh to those convicted in cases of mob lynching leading to the victim’s death.
- West Bengal: West Bengal Assembly passed a legislation- the West Bengal (Prevention of Lynching) Bill, 2019 that proposes a jail term from three years to life for those involved in assaulting and injuring a person and also defines terms such as “lynching” and “mob.”
- The government also proposed the West Bengal Lynching Compensation Scheme.
- Manipur: Manipur Assembly passed the Manipur Protection from Mob Violence Bill,2018
- It recommends life imprisonment for those involved in mob violence if it led to death.
- Status: bill is under consideration of the Union Home Ministry.
Supreme court Judegement on Mob lynching
- Tehseen S. Poonawalla case,2018: three-judge bench of the Supreme Court (comprising then Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud) set out ‘preventive’, ‘remedial’ and ‘punitive’ measures for the Central and state governments as well as law enforcement agencies to deal with the increasing incidents of lynching in India.
- It issued notice to the respondents, including the Centre, the National Human Rights Commission, and certain states.
SC guidelines on Mob lynching
- Designate police officer: The state governments shall designate a senior police officer in each district for taking measures to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching.
- Identification of sensitive areas: The state governments shall immediately identify districts, sub-divisions and villages where instances of lynching and mob violence have been reported in the recent past.
- Strategy development for lynching: The nodal officers shall bring to the notice of the DGP any inter-district co-ordination issues for devising a strategy to tackle lynching and mob violence related issues.
- Dispersion of Mob: It shall be the duty of every police officer to cause a mob to disperse, which, in his opinion, has a tendency to cause violence in the disguise of vigilantism or otherwise
- Broadcasting: Central and the state governments should broadcast on radio and television and other media platforms including the official websites that lynching and mob violence shall invite serious consequence .
- USe of social media platforms: Curb and stop dissemination of irresponsible and explosive messages, videos and other material on various social media platforms. Register FIR under relevant provisions of law against persons who disseminate such messages.
- Protection to the victim's family: Ensure that there is no further harassment of the family members of the victims.
- Compensation scheme: State governments shall prepare a lynching/mob violence victim compensation scheme.
- Fast trials of convicts: Cases of lynching and mob violence shall be specifically tried by designated court/fast track courts earmarked for that purpose in each district. The trial shall preferably be concluded within six months.
- Maximum sentence to accused: To set a stern example in cases of mob violence and lynching, the trial court must ordinarily award maximum sentence upon conviction of the accused person.
- Committee for Reforms in Criminal Law: set up by the home ministry
- It has invited recommendations on a set of questions, including whether mob lynching should be penalised as a separate offence under the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
- In the absence of any institutional guidance or legal framework in the two years since the Tehseen S. Poonawalla guidelines, or any systems that hold the state accountable, mob violence and lynchings continue to be dealt with simply as individual ‘law and order’ problems
- There should be effort to collect and publish official data on lynchings and mob violence in India, which is crucial to understand its patterns and come up with an effective response.
- Central and state governments should take Supreme court guidelines into consideration while framing laws on it so this social issue can be resolved effectively and justice can be ensured for minority people.