Minority Issues – SC, ST, Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

Supreme Court concerns over Persistent Lynchings and Mob Violence


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Mob violence and communal hatred

Central Idea

  • The Supreme Court asked the Centre and six States to respond to a plea concerning the alarming incidents of lynchings and mob violence.
  • It highlighted the need for the government machinery to be held accountable for protecting the lives of victims, including members of the minority community.
  • Presently the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) does NOT maintain separate data on atrocities against religious minorities and on mob lynching.


Mob Lynching through Judiciary’s Lens

  • Apex Court’s 2018 Judgment: In the Tehseen Poonawala Case (2018), the Supreme Court warned against the rising wave of frenzied mobs fueled by fake news, self-professed morality, and false stories. The court foresaw these incidents as “creeping threats” and emphasized the necessity to curb them promptly.
  • Call for Special Law and Punishment: The 2018 judgment condemned mobocracy as an anathema and called for special laws and stringent punishments to address the issue effectively.

What is Mob Lynching?

  • Mob lynching is a heinous act of premeditated extrajudicial killing carried out by a group to punish an alleged transgressor or intimidate a community.
  • The absence of a separate definition for lynching in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and inadequate provisions to deal with such crimes have raised concerns about the growing incidents of mob violence in the country.

Need for an Anti-Lynching Law

  • Filling the Legal Void: An anti-lynching law would address the shortcomings in the current criminal jurisprudence, providing a specific legal framework to deal with such brutal acts. Presently, the IPC offers provisions for unlawful assembly, rioting, and murder, but there is no explicit law against mob lynching.
  • Curbing Lawlessness: An anti-lynching law would hold accountable those involved in lynching incidents, establishing a clear deterrent against such acts of violence.
  • Addressing the Rise in Lynching Incidents: Over the years, mob lynching cases have increased, necessitating a focused and comprehensive legal approach to combat this menace.

Factors behind the Surge in Lynchings

  • Impunity: Lynch mobs often act with confidence, believing they will escape punishment. The lack of decisive action by the state has contributed to their audacity.
  • Communalism: In cow-linked lynchings, political considerations influence the response from the incumbent government, affecting the crackdown on such attacks.
  • Fake News: The rapid spread of misinformation through social media platforms fuels sudden waves of antagonism and contributes to mob violence.
  • Alienation and Unemployment: Modernity has eroded associational life and a sense of fraternity, leading to feelings of alienation. High unemployment rates also leave millions of youth disengaged, making them vulnerable to manipulation.

Impact of Lynching

  • State: Lynching undermines fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution, leading to a crisis in law and order.
  • Economy: International agencies have issued warnings against mob lynching, negatively impacting foreign and domestic investments and sovereign ratings. It also hampers internal migration and places an additional burden on the state exchequer to tackle such incidents.
  • Society: Lynchings foster fear of radicalization, disrupt communal harmony, and promote intolerance, aggravating caste, class, and communal tensions.

Way Forward

  • Proactive Measures: States must proactively monitor and flag rumours on social media and other platforms, adopting measures taken by some states as examples to deter such incidents.
  • Special Courts: Establishing special courts to try mob violence cases would ensure prompt and efficient justice delivery.

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