The Union government does not support any kind of vigilantism, the Supreme Court was told on Friday when the issue of gau rakshaks lynching people in the name of protecting cows came up.
“It (the Centre) does not support any kind of vigilantism by private persons,” Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the apex court.
The solicitor general, the government’s No.2 legal officer, had pointed out to a bench of Justices Dipak Misra, A.M. Khanwilkar and M.M. Shantanagoudar that law and order is a state subject.
To which the bench said: “You say that law and order is a state subject and states are taking actions as per law. You don’t protect any kind of vigilantis
The court sought the help of the Centre on how to handle
social media. Social media has been used to ship up frenzied mobs to attack.
The solicitor general said the Union government is of the view that no vigilante group has any space in the country.
Counsel for Gujarat and Jharkhand, both states ruled by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, informed the court that appropriate action has been taken against those involved in violence in the name of cow vigilantism.
The bench recorded their submission and asked the Centre and other states to file their report regarding to the violent incidents in four weeks, and posted the matter for September 6.
The apex court had on April 7 sought the response of six states on the plea, filed on October 21 last year, seeking action against cow vigilantes who were allegedly indulging in violence and committing atrocities against Dalits and Muslims.
Activist Tehseen S. Poonawalla, in his plea, said violence committed by these ‘Gau Raksha’ groups have reached such proportions that even the Prime Minister had declared them as people who were “destroying the society”.
The plea also alleged that these groups were committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities in the name of protecting cows and other bovines and 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’ sections of the Gujarat Animal Preservation Act of 1954, Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act of 1976 and Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter & Cattle Preservation Act 1964 that provide for protection of persons acting in good faith.