Human Rights Issues

[op-ed of the day] Preventing mob lynching


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much.

Mains level: Paper 2-Protection of vulnerable section and mob lynching.


The spate of incidents of lynching over the past few years has led to a heightened sense of insecurity among the marginalised communities. The Centre should specify penal action against officials and doctors accused of dereliction of duty.

2018 Supreme Court Judgement

  • In 2018, the Supreme Court described lynching as a “horrendous act of mobocracy”.
  • The Court exhorted the Centre and State governments to frame laws specifically to deal with the crime of lynching.
  • The SC laid down certain guidelines to be incorporated in these laws including
    • Fast-track trials.
    • Compensation to victims, and
    • Disciplinary action against lax law-enforcers.

The State laws

  • Manipur bill for the law against lynching:  The Manipur government came up first with its Bill against lynching in 2018, incorporating some logical and relevant clauses.
    • Provision of nodal officer: The Bill specified that there would be nodal officers in each district to control such crimes.
    • Compensation to the victim: The law provides for adequate monetary compensation to the victims or their immediate kin.
    • Punishment for failure to enforce the law: Police officers who fail to prevent the crime of lynching in their jurisdiction are liable to be imprisoned for a term that may extend from one to three years with a fine limit of ₹50,000.
    • No concurrence of state for the prosecution of the police: No concurrence of the State government is required to prosecute them for dereliction of duty.
  • Rajasthan bill: The government has accepted only a few guidelines issued by the apex court.
    • No action against police officers: The bill is also silent on any action to be initiated against police officers who may be accused of dereliction of duty.
  • West Bengal bill: Most other guidelines of the Supreme Court have been adopted by the State.
    • Stringent punishment: Punishment for lynching to death is punishable with the death penalty or life imprisonment and a fine of up to ₹5 lakh.

What the Centre can do

  • Adoption of the SC guidelines: The Centre should adopt the guidelines provided by the SC to deal with the crime.
  • Action against doctors: Centre would do well to incorporate sections in the law for penal action against doctors who stand accused of-
    • Dereliction of duty.
    • For delay in attending to victims of lynching.
    • For submitting false reports without carrying out a proper and thorough medical examination of the victims.
  • The compensation scheme for victims: Under the compensation scheme for the victims, the amount to be paid to the victims should be recovered from the perpetrators of the crime.
    • Collective fines: Collective fines should be imposed on the villagers where the lynching takes place.
  • Punishment for a political leader for inciting the mob: Centre could even provide for punitive action against political leaders found guilty of inciting mobs.
  • Punitive action against police: Punitive action to be taken against police officers accused of dereliction of duty, as incorporated in the law enacted by Manipur government, could be replicated in the Central law too.
    • Punitive action as a deterrent: It would deter police officials acting in a partisan manner in favour of the lynch mob.


Until a zero-tolerance attitude is adopted in dealing with mob lynching, this crime will continue to show a rising trend.


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