Cow Vigilantism: Oral Delivery of Judgment
The Supreme Court delivered its judgment today on this case pertaining to two writ petitions filed by Tehseen Poonawalla and Tushar Gandhi against cow vigilantism.
CJI Dipak Misra delivered the unanimous opinion. He recognised that the acts of lynching where private citizens take law in their own hands is illegal and cannot be condoned. The Court did not address the question of constitutional validity of immunity provisions of cow protection laws in 6 states. In issuing a slew of guidelines, the Court did not restrict itself to specific acts of cow vigilantism but covered all acts of mob lynchings or vigilantism.
CJI Misra cited Shakti Vahini where the Court issued guidelines against Khap Panchayat diktats on inter-caste marriages and issued the following directions:
- There will be a nodal officer appointed in each district who is not below the rank of Superintendent of Police to prevent incidents of mob lynching and cow vigilantism.
- Within a period of three weeks from today, the State Governments are required to identify the affected districts where lynching incidents have taken place.
- An automatic FIR under Section153A, IPC (promoting enmity between different groups) will be registered against individuals who incite people and spread fake news on social media.
- The State Governments shall prepare a lynching/mob violence victim compensation scheme under Section 357 A of CrPC within one month from the date of the this judgment.
- The cases of lynching/mob violence shall be tried in fast track courts in each district - the trail has to be completed within 6 months.
- The Court recommended that the Parliament should create a separate offence of lynching which should be duly punished.
The Court will continue to monitor the implementation of the guidelines. The next hearing is on 20th August.