“Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice”
~ Henry Louis Gates
Our society is gradually developing into a superpower; a rather physical than a mentally developed society, a destructive superpower. Over recent years, mob lynching has gathered a lot of public attention. In layman terms, it can be defined as a form of violence in which a mob, under the pretext of administering justice without trial, executes a presumed offender, often after inflicting torture and corporal mutilation; hereby negating the concept of Rule of Law which is indirectly been highlighted by our Constitution.
Mob lynching is perpetrated by an angry crowd who are under the assumption that an individual is guilty and kills them without a proper trial. In other words, a mob kills anybody based on mere suspicion.
In the year 2020 alone, three people were killed by a mob and one of the victims was a 70-year-old man. The mob killed all of them based on the suspicion that they kidnapped children and harvested their organs.
Lack of accountability and conviction - A mob has no face. This impunity leads to mobs taking extreme actions. Thus, to prevent such crimes, community and state roles increase. Moreover, the active participation of civil society against such crimes and helping state and law enforcement agencies in nabbing criminals is critical.
High Unemployment rates - High unemployment leaves millions of people, especially youth, unengaged. Such young brains are often misguided and brainwashed through various ideologies and agendas. Here, state action is important to provide employment opportunities to youth with a focus on the economic development of that particular region.
Against social peace - Crimes impact the solidarity of society and the idea of unity in diversity. This creates an atmosphere of majority v/s minority. Moreover, it aggravates caste, class, and communal hatred. Thus, the community and the state need to work together to stop the perpetration of such crimes. Therefore, it is vital to implement programs focused on teaching individuals the values of tolerance and secularism.
Poor Implementation of minority’s laws - An act of lynching reflects the failure of the law to protect minorities and punish culprits. State action is important in strict enforcement of laws and punishing criminals.
No relation between states – Bihar Vs Mumbai, where people of Bihar are not given the right work and respect because of their dialect and body language. Despite being unaware of them or their culture, this further promotes mob lynching.
Old fashioned society – Mob lynching occurs in a society that has not modernised. In other words, a society that is still old fashioned and holds old prejudices. For example, the continuous feud between Hindus and Muslim.
Virtual/real groups – Virtual groups also known as social media accounts and groups, allow the spread of hatred for people and communities. This again paves way for mob lynching.
How are these cases handled?
There is a “no separate” definition for such incidents under the existing Indian Penal Code. Lynching incidents can be dealt with under Section 300 and 302 of IPC.
The section states that whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine. The offence of murder is a cognizable, non- billable, and non-compoundable offence.
What is Lynching?
Any act or series of acts of violence or aiding, abetting (encouraging) such act/acts thereof, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation, ethnicity or any other related grounds.
Directions provided by the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court states that mob lynching is the most hideous acts of crime.
In the case of Tehseen Poonawala V. Union of India, the Supreme Court laid down 11 points for the prevention of mob lynching and further asks to make laws for mobs.
The points laid down are –
There should be a separate offence for lynching.
The state should appoint a separate officer for each district to look at crimes such as mob lynching.
Police should keep a day to day check on places where mob lynching has happened before.
Every police officer should try its best to clear up the mob which tends to cause violence.
The nodal officers shall bring to the notice of the DGP any inter-district co-ordination issues for devising a strategy to tackle lynching and mob violence-related issues.
Despite the measures taken by the State Police, if it comes to the notice of the local police that an incident of lynching or mob violence has taken place, the jurisdictional police station can immediately lodge an FIR.
The State Governments shall prepare a lynching/mob violence victim compensation scheme in the light of the provisions of Section 357A of CrPC within one month from the date of this judgment.
If a police officer or an officer of the district administration fails to fulfil his duty, it will be considered an act of deliberate negligence for which an appropriate action must be taken against him/her.
There should be broadcasts on the radio, television, and other devices that describe the consequences of mob lynching.
Till now there is no specific law made in India for mob lynching.
The parliament should make specific laws against lynching to whatever degree it is of. The creation of laws instils the fear of law amongst people which can help in the decreasing and preventing of such crimes. States across India should take back from Manipur, as it is the only state in India that has created specific laws for mob lynching. Doing so can ensure the safety of every citizen of the country. It all starts by clearing its roots from where it all began.