The Supreme Court on Monday granted four more weeks to the Centre and six states to file replies on a plea seeking action against so-called cow vigilantes who were allegedly committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities.
The centre and the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Jharkhand have to file their replies to a plea filed by Congress leader Tehseen S Poonawalla, which also sought action against these ‘gau-rakshaks’.
The court had on October 21 agreed to examine the plea filed by Poonawalla which said violence committed by these ‘gau raksha’ groups have reached such proportions that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi called them out as people who were “destroying the society”.
The plea alleged that these groups were committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities in the name of protection of cows and that they needed to be “regulated and banned in the interest of social harmony, public morality and law and order in the country”.
It had also sought a direction to remove alleged “violent content” uploaded on social media and hosted by the cow protection groups.
The plea sought to declare as “unconstitutional” section 12 of the Gujarat Animal Prevention Act, 1954, Section 13 of Maharashtra Animal Prevention Act, 1976, and Section 15 of Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964, which provides for protection to persons acting in good faith under the Act or rules.
“These laws and the protection granted therewith act as a catalyst to violence perpetrated by these vigilante groups,” the plea said.
Seeking action against the vigilantes, the petition said the atrocities committed by them were punishable under various provisions of IPC and under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of atrocities) Act, 1989.