The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the Centre and the states that have not complied with its 2018 judgement laying down guidelines to prevent mob lynching, Bar and Bench reported. Last week, the top court had declined to hear on an urgent basis a contempt plea against the states. A lawyer for one of the petitioners in the case had said incidents of mob lynching had increased despite the Supreme Court’s verdict.
A Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta issued the notices after going through a petition filed by the Anti-Corruption Council of India Trust.
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 added. It had also proposed a set of preventive, remedial and punitive measures to curb instances of lynching.
The court had also 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 lynching cases within six months.
The court’s decision to issue notices to the governments came two days after a group of filmmakers, activists and academics wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the “number of tragic events in recent times”, particularly incidents of lynching. The intelllectuals complained that the “Jai Shri Ram” slogan had become a “provocative war cry” and the reason for many lynchings in the country.
A series of lynchings
There have been several incidents of mob lynching in India in the past several months. In the most recent incident, two Muslim men in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad city were allegedly threatened and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” by unidentified people.
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 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.
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.