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Supreme Court issues notice in PIL filed by Anti-Corruption Council of India Trust

The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Central government and all states in a petition seeking implementation of its 2018 judgment in Tehseen S Poonawalla v. Union of India, wherein it had laid down directions to tackle mob lynching in the country.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta issued notice in a petition filed by Anti-Corruption Council of India Trust.

In Tehseen Poonawalla, the Supreme Court had urged the Centre to come out with a legislation to curb mob lynching. The judgment is replete with observations made against those who resort to mob violence under the garb of being “self-assumed and self-appointed protectors of law.”

The Court has also touched upon how the underlying issue relates to acceptance of plurality and the freedom of speech and expression in a democracy. Further, the Court has emphasised that crimes of mob lynching should be viewed in religion-neutral terms.

Opining that steps should be taken at every stage of the law, the judgment lists preventive, remedial and punitive measures to tackle mob violence and lynching.

As the judgment concludes, the Court has emphasised that the state has to act positively and responsibly to tackle the issue, lest mob violence and lynchings start to characterise “the new normal”.

The horrendous acts of mobocracy cannot be permitted to inundate the law of the land. Earnest action and concrete steps have to be taken to protect the citizens from the recurrent pattern of violence which cannot be allowed to become ‘the new normal’.”

Tehseen Poonawalla had petitioned the Supreme Court to ensure a strict crackdown on cow vigilantes taking matters into their own hands and resorting to violence against perceived oppressors of the bovine species.

In the petition, Poonawalla had cited numerous instances of attacks by cow protection groups on Dalits, minorities and other people in the “name of protection of cow and other bovine species”.

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