Day 8 Arguments

Cow Vigilantism

September 7th 2018

On July 17th, the Court announced its judgment on this case. The Court had been assessing whether cow vigilantes could be given protection under existing legislations. The Court unanimously judged that acts of lynching, where private citizens take the law into their owns hands, are illegal and cannot be condoned.


In the last hearing on August 20th, the Court had asked all States to file a compliance report on steps taken to deal with vigilantism.


Today, Mr. Sanjay Hegde brought to the Court’s notice that only eleven compliance reports had been filed. Mr. Hegde represents the petitioner Mr. Tehseen Poonawalla.


CJI Dipak Misra confirmed Mr. Hegde’s claim, observing that only nine States and two Union Territories have filed compliance reports. CJI Misra asked all other States and Union Territories to file compliance reports within a week.


CJI Misra proceeded to send a strong message to States that had failed to file a report. He said that they will be given no further adjournments and that the Court will direct relevant Home Secretaries to appear for States who fail to file a report.


Attorney General K.K. Venugopal filed a report on behalf of the Union government. In response to the Court’s recommendation in its July 17th judgment, he submitted that an empowered committee of Ministers will look into the drafting of anti-lynching legislation. Note that an empowered committee is an inter-Ministry committee.


Ms. Indira Jaising appearing for the other petitioner, Tushar Gandhi, requested that all States make these compliance reports publicly available and publicise them. Ms. Jaising noted that this would discourage individuals from taking the law in their own hands.


The Court also heard a related contempt matter, regarding the lynching of Rarbar Khan in Alwar. The Court asked the Rajasthan Government to file an affidavit disclosing steps taken against relevant Police officials.


The matter will be next heard on September 13th 2018.

(Court Reporting by Ms. Disha Chaudhry)