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Supreme Court gives states a week’s time to comply with order on lynching

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra gave the last opportunity by granting one more week to the remaining states and UTs to do the needful.

india Updated: Sep 07, 2018 21:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
lynching,supreme court,union territory
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra gave the last opportunity by granting one more week to the remaining states and UTs to do the needful and warned them that any default would be viewed seriously and their home secretaries will have to appear personally before it.(HT File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Friday came down hard on states yet to comply with its July 17 order listing several directives on dealing with lynchings, and gave them another week to do so. A default would be viewed seriously and the home secretaries of the states would be summoned, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra warned.

Only 11 of 29 states and two of seven Union Territories have complied with the order which came against the backdrop of an increase in the number of mob lynchings across India.

The order listed 11 preventive, remedial, and punitive steps including a designated police officer in each district to address such issues, a record of districts where such instances are common, outreach through mass media warning people of the consequences of lynching, curbing the spread of fake news and rumours that prompt lynchings, fast track courts to deal with the cases, and the maximum sentence for such crimes.

“We direct the remaining states and Union Territories to file the compliance reports in a week. If the reports are not filed, the home secretaries of the defaulting states will have to appear personally,” said the bench, also comprising justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.

Attorney General KK Venugopal informed the court that in pursuance of the order, the Centre had set up an empowered Group of Ministers to frame a law on mob violence. He said the opinion of states would be sought before the law is finalized.

In a related development the court asked the Rajasthan government to share details of its investigation into the Alwar lynching case, reported three days after the top court’s mob lynching judgement. The victim died while police officers allegedly took time off to herd his cows to a cattle shelter.

The court was hearing activist Tehseen Poonawalla’s contempt petition against Rajasthan over its failure to follow the July 17 order. The bench was informed that no charge sheet was filed against the erring police officials, as had been laid down in the court order. Appearing for Rajasthan, additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta contested the claim and said the Station House Officer had been suspended and the constables transferred. Three of the four accused have been arrested, he submitted.

The bench asked the Rajasthan government to file an affidavit within a week on the status of the probe.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for another petitioner and activist, Tushar Gandhi, drew the court’s attention to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals law that provides state accreditation to cow vigilantism. “These organised civil society groups engage in cow vigilantism. These groups are given police power to stop vehicles, search premises and seize animals,” she submitted. The court orally advised Jaising to challenge the rule permitting this.

First Published: Sep 07, 2018 19:51 IST