SC Asks Centre, States Not To Protect Any Kind Of Vigilantism:- In a major development, the Supreme Court has asked the Centre and the States not to protect any kind of vigilantism. It even sought response on raging incidents of cow vigilantism.
The Centre was informed by a bench headed by Justice Dipak Mishra. The bench stated that “law and order is a State subject, but it does not support any kind of vigilantism in the country.”
The bench, also comprising AM Khanwilkar and MM Shantanagoudar, said, “You say that law and order is a State subject and States are taking actions as per law. You do not protect any kind of vigilantism.” Moreover, the bench also sought the aid of the Centre and States in removing any violent content related to cow vigilantism uploaded on social media.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said, “Law and order is a State subject and Central government does not have any role into it. However, Union of India is of the view that no vigilante group has any space in the country as per procedures of law. It does not support any kind of vigilantism by private persons.”
Appropriate action has been taken against those involved in violent activities related to cow vigilantism, informed the Counsel appearing for BJP-ruled Gujarat and Jharkhand to the court. Their submission was recorded by the bench, which further asked the Centre and other States to prepare a report in four weeks time, regarding the violent incidents. The bench posted the further hearing on September 6.
On April 7, the apex court had sought the response of six States, on the petition that was filed on previous year of October 21. The petition sought stringent action against cow vigilantes who were allegedly indulging in violence and also committing barbarity against minorities and Dalits.
Activist Tehseen S Poonawalla, in his petition, said violence committed by these ‘Gau Raksha‘ groups have reached such proportions that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared them as people who were “destroying the society”.
The plea also alleged that these groups in the name of protecting cows and other bovines, were committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities. They needed to be “regulated and banned in the interest of social harmony, public morality and law and order in the country”.
“The menace caused by the so-called cow protection groups is spreading fast to every nook and corner of the country and is creating disharmony among various communities and castes,” the petition submitted.
The plea sought to declare as “unconstitutional” section 12 of the Gujarat Animal Prevention Act, 1954, Section 13 of Maharashtra Animal Prevention Act, 1976, and Section 15 of Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964, which provide for protection of persons acting in good faith under the Act or rules.
The petition seeking action against the vigilantes, under various provisions of IPC and under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of atrocities) Act, 1989 said the atrocities committed by them were punishable.