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What is mob lynching ? 17th Current Affairs class | IAS 2019

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There can be no doubt about the noble intentions of the Supreme Court, which is obviously worried by weak executive action, especially at the State level, in curbing the spate of lynching incidents over the last couple of years. The Court, while using strong words in describing lynching as “horrendous acts of mobocracy”, made it clear that citizens cannot be allowed to take law into their hands. The Court’s scathing observations on the lackadaisical attitude of State Governments and their failure to contain the problem ought to be a wake-up call for our leaders. While there is an argument to be made for the Court showing restraint in issuing instructions to the legislature and/or executive, it is within its rights to make a strong recommendation for the enactment of specific legislation to curb the menace. Numerous directives against anti-social elements have been issued; the Prime Minister himself took the lead in calling them out. But to no avail. In September 2017, the Court had pulled up State Governments and had asked them to take measures including appointing nodal officers at the district level to curb such instances of vigilante violence. But no lessons were learnt. In such a situation, it was apt for the Court to expound on the undesirability of vigilantism in our society and present the rising graph of such incidents before seeking to offer solutions to control the menace. That is entirely right and proper. The growing frequency of such incidents — 16 in a row from Maharashtra to Tripura that claimed more than 20 lives in just about two months — seems to have compelled the Court to ask parliamentarians to frame anti-lynching laws. But for any legislation to control hate-crime to take shape after due debate and discussion, Parliament should fulfil the minimum requirement: It should be functional. Now that the no-confidence motion against the Government has been admitted by the Speaker and confrontation between the Opposition and Treasury benches is less likely to lead to a stalemate in the ongoing Monsoon Session, a consensus on an anti-lynching law preceded by meaningful debate should be on the agenda.

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