Lynching and Mob Violence: Supreme Court Issues Guidelines


July 17, 2018

Case name: Tehseen S. Poonawalla v. Union of India & ors.

Date of Judgment: July 17, 2018

While condemning the practice of cow vigilantism, lynching and mob violence, the Apex Court today has issued a host of guidelines underlining preventive, remedial and punitive measures for the purposes of preventing such heinous activities.

The Petitioner in the case is a social activist and has sought direction to respondent-States to take immediate and necessary action against the cow protection groups indulging in violence and further to issue a direction to remove the violent contents from the social media uploaded and hosted by the said groups.

The Three-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra has in the case recognized the act of lynching as unlawful and while condemning the inhumane act of cow vigilantes remarked:

“That there cannot be a right higher than the right to live with dignity and further to be treated with humanness that the law provides. What the law provides may be taken away by lawful means; that is the fundamental concept of law. No one is entitled to shake the said foundation. No citizen can assault the human dignity of another, for such an action would comatose the majesty of law. In a civilized society, it is the fear of law that prevents crimes. Commencing from the legal space of democratic Athens till the legal system of modern societies today, the law makers try to prevent crimes and make the people aware of the same but some persons who develop masterly skill to transgress the law jostle in the streets that eventually leads to an atmosphere which witnesses bloodshed and tears. When the preventive measures face failure, the crime takes place and then there have to be remedial and punitive measures. Steps to be taken at every stage for implementation of law are extremely important.”

The Supreme Court in the case has issued guidelines in the form of preventive, remedial and punitive measures for preventing the growing incidence of lynching in India.

The guidelines and the entire judgment can be accessed here.