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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Rajasthan passes anti-mob lynching bill, convicts to get life term

Rajasthan became the second Congress-ruled state after Madhya Pradesh to make a law against mob lynching.

india Updated: Aug 05, 2019 19:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
File photo of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot  at the legislative  assembly.
File photo of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot at the legislative assembly. (HT PHOTO)
         

The Rajasthan Assembly on Monday passed a bill providing for life imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 5 lakh to convicts in cases of mob lynching involving the victim’s death.

The Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019 was tabled in the assembly on July 30 by law minister Shanti Dhariwal and came up for discussion on Monday.

Rajasthan became the second Congress-ruled state after Madhya Pradesh to make a law against mob lynching.

Under the new law, lynching offences will be tried by a sessions court and be cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable.

According to the new law, a person who commits an act of lynching which causes the death of the victim will face rigorous life imprisonment and a fine of Rs1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. In case of grievous hurt, the punishment will be jail up 10 years and a fine of Rs 25,000 to Rs 3 lakh and for other injuries, the punishment is a jail term of up to seven years and a fine of Rs one lakh.

Obstructing arrest of the accused, creating hurdles in legal proceedings or threatening witnesses will attract a jail term of up to five years and penalty of Rs one lakh.

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

Under the law, the state government in consultation with the chief justice of the high court will also set up designated courts to hear mob lynching cases. 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.

But the new law came under fire from the BJP.

“It is unfortunate that the government has brought a law to appease one particular community,” BJP spokesperson Pankaj Meena said criticizing the new law.

Civil society activists also came out strongly against the manner in which the government had introduced the bill without any public consultation and

Several civil society organizations have written to the CM office and law minister Shanti Dhariwal demanding a debate.

Ramon Magsaysay Award winner and founder of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) Aruna Roy and People’s Union for Civil Liberties’ Rajasthan unit chief Kavita Srivastava flagged the government for the way the bill was passed.

Srivastava said “The bill was not in the business advisory on Monday but was introduced in the house. It seems they it was put late last night but was not uploaded on the website.”

She said any bill should be scrutinized and publicly debated. “But no one has seen the bill and it was passed without debate. We demand they be referred to a select committee and our views should be heard.”