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SC asks Centre, six States to respond to plea on lynchings

  • Published
    29th Jul, 2023
Context

The Supreme Court asked the Centre and at least six States to respond to a plea about lynchings and mob violence refusing to stop.

What is Mob Lynching?

  • It is a form of violence in which a mob, under the pretext of administering justice without trial, executes a presumed offender, often after inflicting torture and corporal mutilation.
  • The term lynch law refers to a self-constituted court that imposes sentence on a person without due process of law. 

Case studies

  • Dadri Lynching case was held in Bisra Village, Uttar Pradesh in 2015. The person was lynched due to regional and communal differences. The person’s name was Mohammad Akhlaq. He was accused of slaughtering a cow for storing its meat for consumption. When this came into the knowledge of the Hindu community of the village, they lynched both the father and son. The fact of the matter is that this case is considered as one of the first cases which were religious-based and in the name of the cow the person was lynched.
  • Alwar, Rajasthan: Another instance happened in the Alwar District of Rajasthan in 2017. The issue pertinent in this case was that some people belonging to the Muslim community were accused of cattle smuggling and slaughtering of calves. The police department of Alwar filed a case against Khan for smuggling but he was permitted by the government to do so.
  • Delhi: In 2017, a lynching case happened in Delhi. It was based on the caste system prevailing that people belonging to lower case or backward classes of people need to suffer. In this case, a rickshaw driver stopped some of the college students as they were urinating on the public wall due to intoxication. The students who were intoxicated became furious and lynched the rickshaw driver.
  • Palghar mob Lynching case: It is pertinent to note that, on 16th April, 2020 a driver and two Sadhus were lynched by an angry mob. All the victims belonged to a village called Gadchinchale located in the Palghar district of Maharashtra. This unfortunate incident was fuelled by a rumour which was circulated on WhatsApp, wherein it was stated that there have been thieves operating in the village amidst the coronavirus lockdown. 

Lynching laws in India

  • There is no national law made on mob lynching. Mob lynching is not defined in IPC, CRPC, and nor defined in the constitution.
  • Though there are certain provisions in the IPC, for example-
    • Section 223 (a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973states that persons or a mob involved in the same offence in the same act can be tried together.
    • Sections 302(murder)
    • Section 304(culpable homicide not amounting to murder)
    • Section 307(attempt to murder)

Impact of mob lynching

Required measures

  • Threat to law: This act of people taking the law into their hands poses a serious threat to the Rule of Law and principles of Natural Justice.
  • Threat to minority groups in the country.
  • Suppressing basic rights of minorities
  • It normalise such heinous crimes. 
  • Economic loss
  • Health impacts: Lynching incidents are an issue of public health. In the short-term, lynching leads to death and injury for the victims whereas in the long-term it can lead to psychological and physiological effects on present and future generations. 
  • Strong measures: States must take strong measures, including appointing nodal officers at district level, to curb such instances of violence in the name of cow protection.
  • Proactive measures: States should be far more vigilant and proactive in flagging rumours using social media and other platforms. Some states are doing it, others need to emulate these examples.
  • More campaigns and awareness among people
  • Control on the spread of fake news
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