Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission has recommended changing the current laws on mob lynching and cow-related violence and vigilantism, saying these are neither strong enough nor hold officials adequately accountable or rehabilitate families of victims.
Commission Chairman retired Justice Aditya Nath Mittal took a suo motu view of the recent incidents of mob lynching—meaning he proactively recommended the changes without any formal need to do so.
Secretary of the Commission Sapna Tripathi told the Indian Express, “The commission realised that mob lynching is a global problem faced even by US, countries in Africa, etc, for long. Thus, the commission thought of undertaking a suo motu study in this regard about six months ago. We also took into account directions of the Supreme Court and high courts in different cases.”
What is UP’s new mob lynching law?
Under this proposed law, people found guilty of mob lynching will be fined Rs 1 lakh or imprisoned for up to seven years if the victim is injured. Even those found guilty of abetting the crime will be punished under the same terms as the lynchers.
If the victim is seriously injured, the criminals will be imprisoned for up to 10 years and fined Rs 3 lakh. If the victim dies, those convicted for the crime will be imprisoned for life with a fine of Rs 5 lakh.
Police officers and magistrates found guilty of shirking their responsibilities or inadequately enforcing the law will be imprisoned for one to three years and fined Rs 5,000 or imprisoned for six months for creating a discriminatory environment.
The Law Commission added that families of the victims should be compensated for loss of life and property, as well, and the law should have such provisions.
Spike in lynching and cow vigilante attacks in India
The Commission mentioned that between 2012 and 2019, over 50 reported incidents of mob violence have occurred, of which 25 were major assaults where 11 people died.
“Incidents of mob violence have taken place in districts of Farrukhabad, Unnao, Kanpur, Hapur and Muzaffarnagar. The police are also becoming victims as people have started thinking of them as their enemy,” said the Commission.
One of the standout incidents was the 2015 Dadri lynching where Mohammed Akhlaq was murdered by a mob that suspected him of eating beef.
Another report says that UP was the most dangerous state for cow vigilantism or violence related to cattle and cows. IndiaSpend found that in 2012, only one incident and two victims of cow-related violence came to the fore. But that figured increased to eight incidents and 41 victims in 2019. Most of the victims in 2019 were Muslims.
In light of this increased violence, the Law Commission made its recommendations to the UP government.
The proposed law has been submitted to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for consideration. The Commission can only advise and recommend changes to the law, but it is up to the government to actually make those amendments.
Rhea Arora is a Staff Writer at Qrius
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