Mob lynching has been a problem in India for quite some time now with sources amounting to almost 90+ people having been killed in them.
Whether you take the 2018 case where UP’s Bulandshahr police officer was killed during a lynching by a shot to the head and an axe wound or the tragic death of 2 men in Assam who were lynched as there was a rumour of them being child lifters, no matter where you look, the entire country is riddled with this issue of mobs coming together and lynching people, to the point of killing them all based on rumours, hearsay or fake information.
The majority of these cases though have come from Uttar Pradesh, with its Chief Minister (CM) Yogi Adityanath being called out for not taking assertive action against them.
However, this latest news of a new law being drafted which would punish mob lynching in a more severe manner is a welcome move.
New Mob Lynching Law?
This law could be a really big thing for the state of UP, especially considering the rising number of mob lynchings generally making the city quite unsafe.
A rough bill has been drafted by the Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission in order to combat this crime and increase the severity of the punishment.
The report that includes the Uttar Pradesh Combating of Mob Lynching Bill, 2019 draft was submitted by Commission chairman Justice (retd) Aditya Nath Mittal to CM Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday.
As per the panel this is due to the current laws not being sufficient to deal with mob lynching and that along with the wrongdoers even the specific authorities need to be held responsible if these incidents happen under them.
Here are some of the things that we need to know about this Bill and what it could mean:
#1. Rising number of mob lynchings is the cause of this.
The 128 page report has been created after seeing the increasing number of mob lynchings happening in the state.
As per reports in the last five years from 2015-19 over 50 incidents of mob lynching have occurred, in UP alone, out of which 11 victims have lost their lives.
#2. The Punishments itself
Reports have listed out the punishments that the draft recommends for those involved in mob lynchings:
- Imprisonment up to 7 years and fine up to Rs 1 lakh if the victim is injured.
- Imprisonment up to 10 years and fine up to Rs 3 lakh if victim suffers serious injuries.
- Rigorous imprisonment for life and fine up to Rs 5 lakh if the victim dies.
- Those involved in conspiracy, abetment be punished like those actually involved in lynching.
- In case of dereliction of duty by police officer or district magistrate, imprisonment of one year, which may be extended to three years and fine up to Rs 5000.
- Imprisonment of six months for contributing or enforcing a hostile environment.
#3. Expanding the punishment to not just the actual lynching
The bill won’t just be limited to only the basic definition of ‘mob lynching’ and instead explains other terms too.
Terms like ‘mob’, ‘offensive material’, ‘lynching’, ‘victim’ have been clearly defined.
Along with these, it also talks about ‘hostile environment’ where in an actual lynching might not happen but could include acts like making the person leave their residence forcefully, public humiliation, deprivation of fundamental rights, boycott of trade, etc.
This would allow victims to get justice sooner before an actual lynching happens leading to destruction of property and person.
#4. Action against authorities
The draft does not just target the perpetrators but also includes authority figures.
In the punishments mentioned, if a police officer or district magistrate do not do their duty properly then they may be punished with a fine of about Rs. 5000 and prison sentence going from 1 to 3 years.
#5. Compensation to victim and family
The panel has also included ways to compensate the victim and their family in case such an incident happens.
In case of injury, loss of life or property, the victim (if they survive) and/or their family will be given a certain amount as compensation.
There are also points to offer rehabilitation to the victims and their families after the occurrence.
#6. Extensive research
Sapna Tripathi, Secretary of the State Law Commission has talked about the commission researching from countries like US, Africa who also experience this.
She said that they, “accordingly recommended the state government the need for having a comprehensive law to combat lynching.”
Further she added that,
“We studied laws on lynching across the world and framed the draft bill, which contains details on how lynchings can be prevented and how to exercise authority against a mob. Punishment has been specified depending on the result of the incident — injury or death. We have also recommended fixing liability on the police and the district magistrate for failing in their duty.”
The report is also in accordance with what the Supreme Court had announced in 2018 vis a vis creating rules to prevent mob lynching, something that no state apart from Manipur had implemented till now.
All in all, this could be a good way to curb this crime that is right now running rampant across the country without much of a check.
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