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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Death in hate crimes targeted at couples, life term for lynching proposed by Raj

india Updated: Jul 31, 2019 00:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent


The Rajasthan government has proposed the death penalty for hate crimes against people in the name of honour and tradition and life imprisonment for mob lynching leading to death, in two separate bills tabled in the state assembly on Tuesday.

Rajasthan is the first state in India to have a special law to deal with hate crime against couples and the second, after Madhya Pradesh, on lynching.

Both states are ruled by the Congress party.

The bill against hate crimes, “The Rajasthan Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances in the Name of Honour and Tradition Bill, 2019”, even provides punishment for holding assemblies to condemn inter-caste and inter-community marriages in the name of family honour.

Though the death penalty is only given in the rarest of rare cases, the bill said a special law addressing hate crimes would act as a deterrent.

In the case if the crime resulting in the death of a couple, or either of the partners, the punishment mentioned in the bill is death or life imprisonment; the bill also prescribes a penalty of up to Rs 5 lakh in such cases.

In case of “grievous hurt” , the prescribes rigorous imprisonment for 10 years which may be extended to life, and a fine of up to Rs 3 lakh. For other injuries, the punishment proposed is jail for three to five years and a fine of up to Rs 2 lakh.

Importantly, even gathering to condemn such a union could fetch someone a prison sentence of six months to five years and a penalty of up to Rs 1 lakh.

The bill empowers the sub-divisional magistrate or district magistrate to prevent such assemblies and take steps to ensure safety of the couple.

The mob lynching bill states that offences under it will be tried by a sessions court and be cognizable, non- bailable and non-compoundable.

The bill on mob lynching titled “The Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019” says a person who commits an act of lynching which causes death of the victim will face rigorous life imprisonment and a fine of Rs1 lakh to Rs5 lakh. In case of grievous hurt, the punishment proposed is jail up 10 years and a fine of Rs25,000 to Rs 3 lakh and for other injuries, the punishment proposed is a jail term of up to seven years and a fine of Rs one lakh.

The bill also prescribes a jail term of up to five years and penalty of Rs one lakh for obstructing arrest of the accused, creating hurdles in legal proceedings or threatening the witnesses.

The bill also prescribes a procedure for the appointment of a coordinator at the state and district levels as directed by the Supreme Court and witness protection, and adds that mob lynching cases will not be investigated by an officer below the rank of police inspector.

The state government, in consultation with a chief justice of the high court will also set up designated courts to hear mob lynching cases, the bill said, adding that victims will get compensation as per the Rajasthan Victim Compensation Scheme and will be rehabilitated in case they get displaced because of a mob lynching incident.

Both the bills were tabled in the house by Law Minister Shanti Dhariwal and will be taken up for discussion on August 5.

Civil society activists came out strongly against the manner in which the bills had been introduced without any public consultation.

Several civil society organisations have written to the CM office and law minister Shanti Dhariwal demanding that the bills be debated.

Aruna Roy of MKSS and PUCL Rajasthan president Kavita Srivastava demanded the bills be referred to a select committee.

Srivastava said “The bills were not in the business advisory on Monday but have been introduced in the seems they were put late last night but were not uploaded on the website.”

She said any bills should be scrutinised and publicly debated. “But no one has seen these bills and they are being passed without debate. We demand they be referred to a select committee and our views should be heard.”

First Published: Jul 31, 2019 00:04 IST

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