SC asks Centre, states not to protect any kind of vigilantism

RSTV Bureau

File Photo of Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi.

The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and the states not to protect any kind of vigilantism. The court also sought their response on violent incidents of cow vigilantism.

The court’s observation came after the Centre informed the court that law and order was a state subject and that it does not support any kind of vigilantism in the country.

“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 vigilantism,” the bench said.

The court sought the assistance of the Centre and states for removing violent content related to cow vigilantism uploaded on social media.

“Law and order is a state subject and Central government does not have any role into it. However, Union of India is of the view that no vigilante group has any space in the country as per procedures of law. It does not support any kind of vigilantism by private persons,” Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said.

Counsel appearing for BJP-ruled Gujarat and Jharkhand informed the court that appropriate action has been taken against those involved in violent activities related to cow vigilantism.

The bench then asked the Centre and other states to file their a report on violent incidents within four weeks and posted the matter for further hearing on September 6.

On April 7, the apex court had sought the response of six states on the plea seeking action against cow vigilantes who were allegedly indulging in violence and committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities.

Activist Tehseen S Poonawalla, in his plea, said violence committed by these ‘Gau Raksha’ groups have reached such proportions that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi 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 plea sought to declare as “unconstitutional” section 12 of the Gujarat Animal Prevention Act, 1954, Section 13 of Maharashtra Animal Prevention Act, 1976, and Section 15 of Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964, which provide for protection of persons acting in good faith under the Act or rules. The plea also sought penal action against the vigilantes.

(With inputs from PTI)