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Call for non-selective approach in addressing mob violence cases

Call for non-selective approach in addressing mob violence cases

In a recent hearing the Supreme Court of India emphasized the importance of a non-selective approach when addressing cases of mob violence and lynching, particularly those involving minorities. 

The bench, comprising Justices BR Gavai, Aravind Kumar, and Sandeep Mehta, urged lawyers not to cherry-pick cases but to highlight the broader issue of mob violence across all states impartially.

The context of this directive stemmed from a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) related to mob violence, where the Court raised concerns about the murder of Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor from Udaipur who was lynched in 2022. His alleged offense was sharing a social media post by former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma regarding Prophet Mohammad.

During the proceedings, Advocate Nizam Pasha, representing the petitioners, faced questions from the bench when certain cases were not included in the petition. The Court emphasized that the issue of mob violence transcends religious or caste lines and should be viewed as a broader societal problem.

The Court’s stance gained clarity when the counsel representing the Gujarat government highlighted a perceived bias in the cases being presented, noting that only instances of Muslims being lynched were being brought before the Court. Senior Advocate Archana Pathak Dave echoed this sentiment, referring to the cases as "just mob lynching of Muslims."

However, the Court swiftly dismissed these arguments, asserting that submissions should not be based on selective criteria but should address the overarching issue of mob violence prevalent in society.

The PIL under discussion aimed to raise alarms about the rising incidents of mob violence against minorities and sought immediate interim compensation for the families of lynching victims. The Court had previously sought responses from the Central government and police forces in six states regarding measures taken to address mob violence.

During the hearing, Advocate Pasha highlighted instances where state authorities seemed to downplay incidents as general scuffles rather than acknowledging them as cases of mob lynching. The Court, concerned about such responses, questioned why no FIRs were filed against the perpetrators in such instances.

The Court’s directive was clear: states must respond comprehensively regarding actions taken in cases of mob violence. It granted a six-week extension for states that had not yet filed replies to detail the steps taken in addressing such incidents.

Case: National Federation of Indian Women vs. Union of India and ors.

 

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