Lynching has become an everyday phenomenon of India.

However, on Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the country took a tough stand against the trends and said in this matter that the Parliament needs to think about this issue.

The Supreme Court asked the Parliament to consider bringing a new law to control the offences of mob violence or lynching and implement strong punishments to lawbreakers even as there is a rise in the attacks on people by the so-called cow vigilantes and the general crowd in the country.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said “citizens cannot take the law into their hands and cannot become the law unto themselves … Horrendous acts of mobocracy cannot be allowed to become a new norm and have to be curbed with iron hands.”

To deal with offences like mob violence and cow vigilantism, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud, who comprised the bench, passed a direction to provide “preventive, remedial and punitive measures” to control all these.

It said “in case of fear and anarchy, the state has to act positively. Violence can’t be allowed.”

To control mob violence and lynching, the Supreme Court offers some remedies for the central and state governments. The top court said that the state government need to appoint a dedicated police official to act as a nodal officer in each district for taking actions to stop such incidents. The court order such appointments on an immediate basis adding that first the districts, sub-divisions and villages where such incidents have been reported in the last five years have to be identified.

Lynching and mob violence of any kind shall call serious consequence under the law and such messages should be broadcast on radio, television and other media platforms, as well as the official websites of the home department and police by both the Centre and state governments, the court ruled.

The Supreme Court said that the government have to control and stop all of the social media messages, videos and any other material that are irresponsible and explosive in nature and those that can be perceived to provoke mob violence and end up in incidents of lynching.

The Supreme Court was hearing a number of petitions which also included one filed by social activist Tehseen Poonawalla and Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. The suits sought the court to issue some form of guidelines for controlling such violent incidents in the country.

Further hearing in this case will be on held August 28. The Centre and state governments were ordered to take steps to deal with such offences in fulfilment of its directions.

Since in the first week of May, more than 20 people have been allegedly beaten to death in various parts of the country. Most of the incidents took place following rumours, mostly spread on social media and other online messaging platforms, that heighten fear of outsiders kidnapping children.

The messages which were broadcast by the police and government not to believe in such rumours were unheard by the people. A person who was appointed by the government to dispel such rumours was lynched in Tripura.

(Adapted from TheHindustanTimes.com)