LYNCHING: Supreme Court summons home secretaries

The Supreme Court today directed the home secretaries of the states that have not filed compliance reports on anti-mob violence measures to personally appear before it after a week.

Hearing a public interest litigation on rising cases of violence by cow vigilantes in July, the court had issued 12 guidelines for all state and the central government to implement, and sought a compliance report by end of August.

However, as today, only 11 states had filed compliance reports. The center too had not filed its report, irking the court.

It has, therefore, directed all home secretaries of the states and the center to appear before it personally on Sept 13 and explain why the report has not been filed yet.

Attorney General KK Venugopal, representing the Union Government, promised that the center will file its compliance report today itself.

The guidelines stipulate that the state governments shall designate a senior police officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police as nodal officer in each district, assisted by one of the DSP rank officers in the district, for taking measures to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching.

A special task force will be constituted to procure intelligence reports about the people who are likely to commit such crimes or who are involved in spreading hate speeches, provocative statements and fake news.

The guidelines also require the governments to identify the areas where instances of lynching and mob violence have been reported in the recent past and be extra cautious in these areas.

The nodal officer has to hold regular meetings, at least once a month, with the local intelligence units in the district along with all Station House Officers to identify the existence of the “tendencies of vigilantism, mob violence or lynching in the district” and take steps to prohibit instances of dissemination of offensive material through different social media platforms or any other means.

The Government of India has been asked to work with state governments for sensitising law enforcement agencies and to identify measures for the prevention of mob violence and lynching against any caste or community and to implement the constitutional goal of social justice and the rule of law.

“There should be seriousness in patrolling so that the anti – social elements involved in such crimes are discouraged and remain within the boundaries of law thus fearing to even think of taking the law into their own hands,” the SC has said.

“It shall be the duty of the Central Government as well as the S tate Government s to take steps to curb and stop dissemination of irresponsible and explosive messages, videos and other material on various social media platform s which have a tendency to incite mob violence and lynching of any kind.”

The court directed the police to register FIR under Section 153A of IPC and other laws against persons who disseminate irresponsible and explosive messages and videos having content which is likely to incite mob violence and lynching of any kind.