It has been observed that up until December 4, the government had been giving the same monotonous answer to these questions, which reads as follows:
“A Group of Ministers was constituted by the Government to deliberate on the matter and make recommendations. The Group of Ministers has since met and the Government is seized of the matter.”
This answer does not say that the law will be eventually passed and still keeps the topic in a grey area so that the government can fall back on this answer and say that it is considering the same.
A question that has been raised repeatedly on the floor of both houses has compelled the government to consider it. So much so that the Union Home Minister on December 4, said in Rajya Sabha that the government will keep in mind the need to have specific legal provisions against lynchings as it mulls an overhaul of the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code. Amit Shah further said, “I have written to chief ministers and lieutenant governors to provide suggestions about the amendments required to the IPC and the CrPC. The Bureau of Police Research and Development has set up a committee to consider comprehensive changes to the IPC and the CrPC. We will keep in mind the Supreme Court order too.”
Supreme Court’s say on lynching
In July 2018, the Supreme Court, while condemning mob lynching, had given directions, including preventive, remedial and punitive steps to deal with the crime of lynching and in July 2019 it even issued notices to the Centre and the states on a PIL filed for implementing the apex court’s July 2018 order.
Proactive state governments
Manipur and Rajasthan Governments have submitted their respective bills on mob violence for the President’s assent and the government says that it is sill holding consultations on the laws of both the states.
Meanwhile, the Congress is riding high on the BJP’s failure on implementing a law on mob lynching by promising in its manifesto for Jharkhand polls that it will bring out a stringent law for mob lynching in the state.
The NCRB excuse
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also stated that although NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) had collected data under crime heads like mob lynching, it found the data to be unreliable and the definition to be prone to misinterpretation, and hence the same was not published by the bureau in its 2017 report which was released much belatedly only recently.
Callous parliamentarians on lynchings
While on one hand, parliamentarians are insisting so vehemently on a law against mob lynching, some irresponsible and callous MPs like Jaya Bachhan went ahead and called for lynching of those accused of rape and murder of the Hyderabad vet, a case that has caught the nation’s attention and has led to a huge outcry. The same institution which has members pushing for a law against lynching has such members who are encouraging the same behaviour. The irony cannot be more obvious.
Former law Minister and Congress leader, Ashwani Kumar said, “calls by parliamentarians for public lynching and castration of the accused is a constitutional affront and militate against the first principles of the rule of law. Such calls of retribution unknown to civilised societies and constitutional democracies do no justice to the duties of law makers.”
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