The Supreme Court directed all state governments to appoint a senior police officer as a nodal officer in each district to ensure that incidents of cow vigilantism are prevented and dealt with effectively.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also directed the chief secretaries of every state government to file a status report giving details of the actions taken to prevent incidents of cow vigilantism.
The bench, also comprising Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar, asked the Centre to respond to the submission that it (Central government) could issue directions under Article 256 of the Constitution to all state governments on issues related to law and order.
The apex court was hearing a PIL filed by Tushar Gandhi, great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, seeking various reliefs, including a direction to all the governments to take preventive measures against cow vigilantism.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for Gandhi, referred to various incidents of lynching and assault on the pretext that the victims were either carrying or in possession of beef or had eaten it.
She also referred to an earlier statement of Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar that the Central government did not approve of such incidents of people taking the law into their hands.
Besides Gandhi, Congress leader Tehseen Poonawalla had earlier filed a similar petition on the issue.