The Rajasthan legislative assembly on Monday passed a bill providing for life imprisonment and a fine up to Rs5 lakh to convicts in cases of mob lynching involving the victim’s death.

‘The Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019’ was passed by the Vidhan Sabha by a voice vote amid vociferous protest by the opposition BJP, which wanted the Bill to be referred to a select committee. The Bill was introduced by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal in the state assembly last week.

Responding to the debate on the bill, Dhariwal told the House that though there are provisions in the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code to deal with the cases of mob lynching incidents, they are not adequate. Accordingly, the government has brought in the Bill to provide for strict punishment to curb such incidents, he said.

The Rajasthan government had come under criticism this year when the state police had filed a chargesheet against mob-lynching victim Pehlu Khan who had died in 2017. Instead of nabbing the accused who had lynched him, Khan was accused of smuggling cattles in the chargesheet.

The statement of object and reason of the bill said, “The bill is proposed to nip the evil in the bud and to prevent spreading of hatred or incitement to mob lynching by creating special offences against such offences.”

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had announced to bring in the Bill while replying to the debate on state Budget on July 16.