The Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission has drafted a stringent law to deal with increasing incidents of mob lynching, The Indian Express reported on Friday. The panel has recommended jail terms ranging from seven years to life imprisonment for assailants and up to three years in prison for police officers and district magistrates who neglect their duty.
A 128-page report containing the draft Uttar Pradesh Combating of Mob Lynching Bill, 2019, was submitted to Chief Minister Adityanath by the commission’s Chairperson Justice (retired) Aditya Nath Mittal on July 10, PTI reported. The law panel, while taking suo motu cognisance of incidents of mob lynching, said the existing law was not sufficient and there was a need to not just punish those who commit the crime but to also hold authorities responsible for dereliction of duty if such attacks occur under their watch.
The draft law defines terms such as “lynching”, “mob”, “victim”, “offensive material” and “hostile environment” created against the victim or family, including boycott of trade, public humiliation, depriving people of their fundamental rights, and forcing them to leave their homes. According to the law commission, the law should contain provisions on providing compensation to a victim’s family for grievous injury or loss of life and property, and rehabilitation of the victims and their families.
“The commission realised that mob lynching is a global problem faced even by US, countries in Africa etc for long,” the State Law Commission’s Secretary Sapna Tripathi told The Indian Express. “Thus, the commission thought of undertaking a suo motu study in this regard about six months ago. We also took into account directions of the Supreme Court and High Courts in different cases.”
She said it was up to the Adityanath government to accept and take forward the recommendations. The law panel would next study “anti-conversion laws” related to conversion of religion for the purpose of marriage, Tripathi added.
According to data, 50 incidents of mob violence have taken place in Uttar Pradesh between 2012 and 2019, PTI reported. Eleven of the 50 victims of the assault died.
Last week, the Supreme Court declined to grant an urgent hearing to a contempt plea against states that have not complied with its July 2018 judgment laying down guidelines to prevent mob lynching. The top court had decried cases of lynching and cow vigilantism and said mobocracy cannot be allowed in society. “No citizen can take law into his hands nor become law unto himself,” the judges had said. They had also proposed a set of preventive, remedial and punitive measures to curb instances of lynching. The court had ordered the appointment of nodal police officers in all districts, efficient patrolling in areas where there was possibility of such incidents, and completion of trial in lynching cases within six months.