Concerns about Lynchings and Mob Violence at the Supreme Court

  • The Supreme Court has ordered the Centre and six states to respond to a petition concerns lynchings and mob violence.
  • It emphasised the importance of holding the government machinery accountable for protecting the lives of victims, including members of the minority group.
  • Currently, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) does not have separate data on religious minorities and mob lynching.

Mob Lynching through Judiciary’s Lens

  • The Supreme Court issued a warning in the Tehseen Poonawala Case (2018) against the rising tide of frenzied mobs fueled by fake news, feigned morality, and misleading claims. The court considered these occurrences as “creeping threats” that needed to be addressed immediately.
  • Demand for Punishment and Special Law: The 2018 judgement declared mobocracy abhorrent and urged for new legislation and harsh fines to adequately address the issue.

What is Mob Lynching?

  • Mob lynching is a terrible form of extrajudicial killing committed by a group to punish an alleged transgressor or to terrify a community.
  • The lack of a separate definition for lynching in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and insufficient provisions to deal with such crimes have prompted worries about the country’s increasing mob violence.

Filling the Legal Gap with an Anti-Lynching Law:

  • An anti-lynching law would address the weaknesses in current criminal jurisprudence by creating a specialised legal framework to deal with such horrific acts. The IPC already provides provisions for unlawful assembly, rioting, and murder, however there is no express legislation against mob lynching.
  • Limiting Lawlessness: An anti-lynching law would hold individuals involved in lynching instances accountable, offering a strong deterrent to such acts of violence.
  • Addressing the Rise in Lynching Incidents: Mob lynching cases have escalated over the years, needing a concerted and comprehensive judicial approach to address this scourge.

Factors Contributing to the Increase in Lynchings Impunity:

  • Lynch mobs frequently act confidently, assuming they will escape punishment. The state’s lack of decisive response has contributed to their arrogance.
  • Communalism: Political reasons influence the incumbent government’s response to cow-related lynchings, affecting the crackdown on such attacks.
  • Fake News: The rapid dissemination of misinformation via social media platforms drives spontaneous outbursts of hostility and contributes to mob violence.
  • Unemployment and alienation: Modernity has weakened associational life and a sense of fraternity, resulting in emotions of alienation. High unemployment rates also detach millions of young people, making them susceptible to manipulation.

Impact of Lynching

  • Lynching has a negative impact on the state since it violates fundamental rights entrenched in the constitution, resulting in a law and order problem.
  • Economy: International organisations have expressed cautions against mob lynching, which has harmed foreign and local investments as well as sovereign ratings. It also impedes internal movement and places additional strain on the state budget to deal with such situations.
  • Lynchings exacerbate caste, class, and communal tensions by instilling fear of radicalization, disrupting communal harmony, and promoting intolerance.
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