The Supreme Court on Friday took a serious view of the point that only 9 of the 29 states and 2 of the 7 Union Territories (UTs) have so far complied with its 17 July verdict giving them a slew of directions to curb cow vigilantism and mob lynching incidents across the country.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra gave one more week to the remaining 20 states and 5 UTs to comply with its order, warning them that any default would be viewed sternly.
“We direct the remaining states and UTs to file the compliance reports in a week. If the reports are not filed, the home secretaries of the defaulting states will have to appear personally,” the Bench, also comprising Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud, reportedly asserted.
Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, informed the Bench that in pursuance of the top court verdict, an empowered Group of Ministers (GoM) has been set up to consider framing a law on mob violence and lynching.
The apex court also directed the Rajasthan government to file a report within a week giving details of its action in the lynching of a 28-year-old dairy farmer Rakbar Khan by an alleged group of cow vigilantes at Lalwandi village of Ramgarh district on 20 July.
Earlier, the top court had issued notice to the Rajasthan government on the plea of a Congress member Tehseen Poonawala seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against state officials, including the chief secretary and the police chief, for alleged violation of the court’s 17 July verdict.
The apex court on Friday again asked the Centre and states to give wide publicity on radio, television and other official websites and media platforms that mob violence and lynching of any kind will “invite serious consequence under the law”.
On 17 July, the Bench, while asserting that “horrendous acts of mobocracy” cannot be allowed to subvert the law of the land, had urged Parliament to consider enacting a special law to effectively deal with cow vigilantism and mob lynching. The apex court made it clear that such recurrent incidents of mob violence cannot be allowed to become “the new normal”.
The Bench had then also issued a number of directions to the government, the Centre as well as states, to ensure “preventive, remedial and punitive measures” to deal with offences of mob violence like cow vigilantism and other lynching incidents.
The Bench had asked the state governments to designate a senior police officer, not below the SP rank, as nodal officer in each district for taking measures to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching.
The top court made the Centre and the state governments accountable for mob violence and lynching, asking them to take steps to curb and stop dissemination of irresponsible and explosive messages and videos on social media platforms which incite such incidents.