New Delhi, August 27
Five years after the Supreme Court recommended to Parliament to make a special law categorising lynching as a separate offence with severe punishment, mob lynching has been proposed to be made punishable with the death penalty under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023.
Introduced in the Lok Sabha by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on August 11, the Bill seeks to repealand replace the Indian Penal Code. It has been referred to the Department-related Standing Committee on Home Affairs wider scrutiny and suggestions.
Clause 101 of the Bill prescribes the death penalty as the maximum punishment for murder. Clause 101(2) of the Bill says, “When a group of five or more persons acting in concert commits murder on the ground of race, caste or community, sex, place of birth, language, personal belief or any other ground each member of such group shall be punished with death or with imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
It means when a murder is committed by a group of five or more persons and it’s done on the ground of race, caste or community, sex, place of birth, language, personal belief or any other ground, each individual in that group will face the death penalty or life imprisonment or a prison term of seven years or more.
The Supreme Court had on July 17, 2018 asked Parliament to consider enacting a new law to effectively deal with incidents of mob lynching, saying “horrendous acts of mobocracy” cannot be allowed to become a new norm. A new law was needed to instil a sense of fear for law amongst those who involve themselves in mob lynching, it had said.
It had also ordered a set of preventive, remedial and punitive measures to curb mob lynchings in various parts of the country and had suggested trial of mob violence cases byfast track courts in six months.It was the duty of state governments to ensure law and order in the society, besides ensuring that the rule of law prevailed, it had noted.
On September 6, 2017, the top court had asked all states to take stern measures to stop violence in the name of cow protection, including appointment of senior police officers as nodal officers in every district within a week and acting promptly to check the cow vigilantes from behaving like they were “law unto themselves”.