New Delhi: Terming incidents of lynchings across the country as “horrendous acts of mobocracy”, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the parliament to enact a new law to punish those participating in such incidents. The court also stated that maintaining law and order is the government’s responsibility.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also passed a slew of directions to provide “preventive, remedial and punitive measures” to deal with offences like mob violence and vigilantism in the name of cow protection.
The bench, which also comprised justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, said it was the duty of state governments to ensue law and order in society, besides ensuring that the rule of law prevailed.
“Citizens cannot take law into their hands and cannot become law unto themselves,” the bench said.
“Horrendous acts of mobocracy cannot be allowed to become a new norm and has to be curbed with iron hands,” it said, adding that states cannot turn a deaf ear to such incidents.
The bench asked the legislature to consider enacting a new penal provision to deal with offences of mob violence and provide deterrent punishment to such offenders.
The bench also came down on vigilantism by self-proclaimed gau rakshaks, terming it “unacceptable”.
The top court passed the order on a plea seeking formulation of guidelines to curb such violent incidents in the country.
The bench has now posted the PIL filed Tushar Gandhi and Tehseen Poonawalla for further hearing on August 28 and asked the Centre and state governments to take steps to deal with such offences in pursuance of its directions.
The CJI, who pronounced the verdict in a packed courtroom, did not read out measures directed by the court to deal with such offences.
The court sought a compliance report from centre and states, according to a report in the Indian Express.
Tehseen Poonawalla, one of the petitioners, stated that the court had said the states have a duty to ensure inclusive social order and that mobocracy cannot be allowed. DNA reported that Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, had filed a contempt plea against some states, accusing them of not enforcing the earlier orders of the court.
Last year, the Supreme Court had said that states must compensate victims of cow vigilantism, asking them to submit compliance reports based on its previous order on appointing district nodal officers to curb cow-related mob violence.
With inputs from PTI.