Ineffectiveness of Anti-Mob Lynching Laws

News: Bills passed against mob lynching in some states have not been implemented since lynching is not defined as a crime under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Reasons for pendency:

  • Most bills have been reserved by the Governor for consideration of the President.
  • The President has to go with the advice given by the Council of Ministers, in the case of such legislations, represented by the MHA.
  • The Union Home Ministry examines the State legislations on three grounds-
    • Repugnancy with Central laws
    • Deviation from national or central policy and
    • Legal and constitutional validity

What is Mob Lynching?

  • Lynching is a premeditated extrajudicial killing by a group. It is most often used to characterize informal public executions by a mob in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate a group.
  • Recent incident can be recalled from Pakistan where a Sri Lankan national was set ablaze over blasphemy charges.
  • In 2017, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) collected data on mob lynching, hate crimes and cow vigilantism but it was not published and discontinued.
  • This is because, there is “no separate” definition for lynching under the IPC.
  • However, lynching incidents could be dealt with under Sections 300 and 302 of the IPC, pertaining to murder.
  • In 2018, the Supreme Court asked Parliament to make lynching a separate offense.
  • Since then, the government is working to overhaul the IPC framed in 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to consider mob-lynching.

Why do we need Anti-Mob Lynching Laws?

  • It fills a void in our criminal jurisprudence. The Indian Penal Code has provisions for unlawful assembly, rioting, and murder but nothing that takes cognizance of a group of people coming together to kill (a lynch mob). There has been a rise in lynching incidents in recent years.
  • The lynch mobs are confident of getting away with it. So far, the state has done little to shake that confidence.
  • In the case of cow-linked lynchings, a lot depends on whether the incumbent in power considers it compatible with its political interests to crack down on such attacks.
  • Another factor that gave rise to lynchings is the spread of fake news through social media platforms which incite a sudden wave of antagonism.
  • With modernity, there is a growth of individualism and erosion of associational life. The sense of fraternity has been fading away due to this.
  • High Unemployment rates leave millions of youth unengaged.

Implication of lynching:

  • It is against the values upheld in the constitution of India. Every individual have certain fundamental rights any violence would be a curtailment of this right. Lynchings have led to degrading regard to law and order.
  • Many International agencies warned India against mob lynching incidents. This impacts both foreign and domestic investment thereby adversely affecting sovereign ratings. It directly hampers internal migration which in turn affects economy. Large resources deployed to tackle such menaces induces extra burden on state-exchequer.
  • Radical and extremist organizations such as ISIS etc could take leverage of the atmosphere created by such incidents. This impact solidarity of society and idea of Unity in diversity. This create an atmosphere of majority v/s minority. It could aggravate caste, class and communal hatred. Such acts show loss of tolerance in society and people are being swayed by emotions, prejudices etc.

Way forward

  • States should be more vigilant and proactive in flagging rumors using social media and other platforms.
  • Some states are doing it, others need to emulate these examples.
  • The more proactive the administration is in this regard, the stronger a deterrent it will be.
  • There is also a need for a special court for the trial of mob violence.