The rule of law is considered as the essence of the democracy. The integrity and dignity of the rule of law must be reverend by both the citizens and the government, as in India, constitution is the Supreme law of the land. The preamble of the Constitution provides for “the government of people, by the people and for the people” and further it illustrates the constitutional orderliness, discipline and norms. Communal harmony and secularism are the essential ingredients of the Indian democracy and in case of any encroachment of the same; the remedies can be availed by the procedure established by law. In spite of the plethora of the protections provided to the citizens the incidents of mob lynching have been at zenith in the stipulated period of time. Mere, on the grounds of the suspicion the uncontrolled crowd takes law in their clutches and impart the so called “justice”.
But the question arises what is understood by the term ‘Mob Lynching’? The term has been derived for the Americo-Latin word, which means that one is given the punishment of death sentence without any proper trial or legal proceedings. According to the Oxford English dictionary “lynching refers to the act of killing/s done by a mob without any legal authority or process involved.” The major heinous crimes are committed by the mob like murder or rape. They assume themselves as the judges, jury and executioner which not only violate the legal frame work but as well shatters the faith of the masses in the judicial system.
In the case of Tehseen S. Poonawalla vs. Union of India and Others , the Supreme Court has suggested both the central and the state government to initiate preventive, remedial and penal measures in this regard. The guidelines were as well proposed in this regard, out of which main measures are illustrated below:
• Appointment of senior police official not below the rank of Superintendent of police as the Nodal officer assisted by the police officer in every district to ensure the prevention of the mob lynching incidents.
• The government should spread the awareness by the way of the various media platforms that it is a punishable offence in the court of law.
• The state government and the central government should take steps to eliminate the spread of the explosive images and videos on the social media platform along with the compensation policy in the stipulated period of 1 month from the incident as per the provisions of section 375A of the code of criminal procedure.
• If it is found that officials so appointed in this regard have failed to control the situation in hand than the appropriate and stringent legal action should be taken against the official and the act should be marked as the deliberate act of negligence on the part of the official.
Lynching: As a Reassertion of Dominant Class
The main reasons of the plight of the minorities are ignorance of the principle of secularism by the masses. The religious believes have blinded the masses that they fail to acknowledge the fact of harmonious co-existence. The main incidents of mob lynching are in the name of “cow Vigilance” “cattle smuggling” “cattle trading” “beef smuggling” etc. The majority of the incidents take place against the dalits and muslim community in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan etc. The economic strata of these communities in these states is miserable which is brought up about the prevailing system of economic relations , religious preconceived opinions which is not based on any reason or actual consequences and the social discriminatory laws which are traditional , conventional and legislative and have destroyed them morally , educationally and economically. In the case of Pahlu Khan in 2017 was killed by the so called “Go- rakshaks” in Rajasthan on the basis of the mere suspicion of animal smugglers and selling of the meat of cow (beef). The recent incidents of lynching were witnessed in the CAA protest of the protestors. The scenario is shattering and demands the regulation to safeguard the fundamental and human rights.
“Communal harmony is the hallmark of a democracy. No religion teaches hatred. If in the name of religion, people are killed, that is essentially a slur and blot on the society governed by the rule of law.” In the same case it was stated that such killings are not less than terrorism against the innocent people for no rhyme and reason. The responsibility is on the shoulders of the government and judiciary. The delay in justice system, absence of the specific beneficiary legislation, the unconcerned attitude of police officials, non-registration of the FIRs are the other factors liable for the plight of the minorities in the country.
Need of legislation: to curb the vigilante’s attack on rule of law and people
Punishing the culprit is the obligation of the state; this will help to uphold the principle of natural justice. The situation demands for the constant vigilance by the authorities’ responsible, security to witnesses, rehabilitation of victims, prevention of the repetition of incidents and many other associated factors. All though the situation can be dealt in the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal procedure and other existing statutes but there is the lacuna which works as the gate of escape for the offenders. The Sections of IPC which are likely to require adjustments for this are: 302 (murder) , 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (punishment for voluntary causing hurt), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of a common intention). This lacuna is in regard to the absence of the appropriate legislation as the definition of the various terms like “hostile environment” “mob” “lynching” “victim” and “witness” etc.. This will surely resort as aid for the officials and judiciary as they will be able to have a guide for the further advancement in the instant.
The demand is for the central legislations as the state governments have attempted to curb the situation but did not achieve much success. Example: The state governments of Rajasthan West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh have attempted to pass the law but the bill is still pending in the court of law. This needs urgent redress otherwise it may result in the deterioration of the principles enshrined in the constitution of India. The right to life under article 21 of constitution is the essence of it as it illustrates the right to live with dignity and not mere animal existence. Article 15 as well prohibits the discrimination on the various grounds; religion and caste are part of it. Thus, this leads to the preservation of the country to change to Lynchistan from Hindustan.
END NOTES AND REFERENCES:
- (2018) 9 SCC 501
- National Human Rights Commission vs. State of Gujarat and others (2009) 6 SCC 342
- https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1560742/ ( last seen at 10:25 on 8/12/2020)
- http://upslc.upsdc.gov.in/MediaGallery/7thReport.pdf ( last seen at 10:25 on 8/12/2020)
- https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-real-objective-of-mob-violence-against-muslims-in-india ( last seen at 10:30 on 8/12/2020)
- https://theprint.in/india/jharkhand-lynching-spares-no-religion-police-govt-think-its-routine/302855/ ( last seen at 10:32 on 8/12/2020)
- http://www.ijrar.org/papers/IJRAR1944490.pdf ( last seen at 10:35 on 8/12/2020)
- http://www.academicjournal.in/archives/2017/vol2/issue4/2-4-15 ( last seen at 10:38 on 8/12/2020)