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Mob Lynching in India: Reasons and related case law

Introduction

The very first question which arises is what is Mob Lynching? In the vaguest term, it can be defined as a group of 5-6 persons called a mob who take the law into their hands and think that they impart justice by punishing someone for their crimes.

As per law, mob lynching is a form of violent act done against a human body or property. It is mostly based on misinformation or a rumour or suspicion of a wrongful act and the innocent ones suffer from it. The Honourable Supreme Court has termed Mob lynching as a ‘horrendous act of mobocracy’. 

The term ‘Lynch’ is given by Charles Lynch. Lynching is a provocation to the concept of Rule of Law and it is in dissertation to the Constitution. The constant increase in the cases of mob lynching seems to weaken the pillars of democracy.

Reasons of Mob Lynching

The major reason behind the act of mob lynching is the idea behind the so-called form of instant Justice. Society feels that they must intervene in matters without even knowing the actual issue and they feel that the administrative body cannot do justice.

There is a wide perception among humans that Courts have failed to deliver justice on time and this has happened with so many cases. The culprits of heinous crimes like raping a woman will go scot-free.

Case law on Mob-Lynching:

The landmark case law relating to the lynching is the Tehseen S. Poonawala v. Union of India and Other.

Tehseen S. Poonawala v. Union of India and Other

The case occurred because the Court did not question the validity of immunity provisions in Cow vigilantes. Distressed by the increasing incidents, three individuals including Tehseen (an activist lawyer) filed a writ petition in the Apex Court.

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The private citizens violently punished people on a suspect of them consuming beef and lynched people from Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, etc.

The judgment was given in two writ petitions. The first one was on the challenge by Tehseen Poonawala was the good-faith clauses in cow protection. To which the Court held that it will not go against the constitutionality of these provisions and restrict itself to mob vigilantism.

The second one was to seek the intervention of the Union in the cases of increasing vigilantism of cows. The Court recognized that the acts of lynching where private citizens take law into their own hands is illegal and cannot be condoned.  

The Court recommended that the enactment of a special law on mob lynching by the parliament may take place as “fear of law and veneration for the command of law constitute the foundation of a civilized society”.

Conclusion:

Mob lynching is happening because people have started losing faith in the legislature and judiciary and are willing to take the law into their hands.

It is a hate crime and people should show empathy towards this kind of crime and not the apathetic ones. The need of the hour is to bring a stricter and robust law to curb this menace from society and work on the loopholes of the legislation.

The IPC needs to have a separate section of the Mob-lynching specifying the punishments of the same. Along with stringent laws, there is a need to educate the people and create awareness that killing a person is not a solution.

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There must be a Modus Operandiwhich must be improvised by the State. These kinds of incidents are a blot on the face of our democracy.

Author/Editor

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