The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to hear on an urgent basis a contempt plea against states that have not complied with its 2018 judgement laying down guidelines to prevent mob lynching, PTI reported. The Supreme Court had turned down the plea on July 5 and said it would come up for hearing in the regular course of proceedings in the court.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said there was no urgency to hear the contempt plea. The bench observed that 50% of the statements made by lawyers seeking urgent listing of cases were found to be incorrect.

On July 17, 2018, the Supreme 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. It 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 the completion of trial in these cases within six months.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MP Asaduddin Owaisi questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not implementing the anti-lynching laws. “One year since the Supreme Court’s verdict, we should ask: why is the prime minister’s office so afraid of an anti-lynching law?” Owaisi had tweeted on Wednesday. “In the previous Lok Sabha, I’d proposed a draft Bill that would strengthen prevention, investigation and prosecution of mob violence.”

Former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid said the government should be made answerable for not enacting the law.

A spate of lynchings

There have been several incidents of mob lynching in the country over the past several months. The latest incident occurred on July 13, when a mob beat up a police constable who was trying to resolve a land dispute in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district.

On June 18, a Muslim man identified as Tabrez Ansari was beaten up in Jharkhand’s Seraikela Kharsawan district for allegedly attempting to steal a motorcycle. The FIR said that the mob had also forced Ansari to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”. He died four days later.

A 25-year-old man was allegedly beaten up, verbally abused, and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram”in Diva area of Maharashtra’s Thane district on June 24.

On Tuesday, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced in the Assembly that his would enact laws to curb incidents of mob lynching and other hate crimes. Last week, the Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission had drafted a stringent law to deal with increasing incidents of mob lynching. It proposed seven years to life in jail for attackers.

The mob attacks have also gained international attention. In June, an official report prepared by the United States said mob attacks by “violent extremist Hindu groups” against minority communities, particularly Muslims, continued in India in 2018. The report, which said some senior officials of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had made inflammatory speeches against minority communities, was rejected by the Ministry of External Affairs. It also said 18 such mob attacks were reported as of November 2018 and eight people were killed during the year.