SC Talks Tough on Cow Vigilantism, Asks States to Curb Violence
The SC also asked the states to form a dedicated task force in each district to stop such acts.
Talking tough, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked all states to take stern steps to stop violence in the name of cow protection by appointing a senior police officer as nodal officer in every district within a week and act promptly to check cow vigilantes from behaving like they are "law unto themselves".
Such acts "must stop", directed a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra which asked the states to form a dedicated task force in every district to stop such acts and directed their chief secretaries to file a status report giving details of actions taken to prevent incidents of cow vigilantism.
The bench, also comprising Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar, passed this order while issuing notice to the Centre and others on a PIL filed by Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi.
Welcoming the SC’s decision, Tehseen and Shehzad Poonawala, petitioners in another PIL against cow vigilantism said that the order would be considered a victory for the “very causes that even Gauri Lankesh had been fighting for.”
Tehseen Poonawala said:
We welcome the stern orders of the SC to the Central & State governments on this terror being spread in name of cow vigilantism. We hope Mr Modi stands on the side of the Constitution and not with those from Sangh Parivar who justify or support such barbaric acts.
Shehzad Poonawala added:
We are upset that Central Government led by Mr Modi is still not walking the talk when it comes to cracking down on these terror cow vigilante groups just like we crack down on Simi or ISIS! I hope after this order of the SC, the Modi government & other state governments will ensure this cow terror ends and there are no further victims like Dalits of Una, Pehlu Khan and Akhlaq. We continue to demand a law called Masuka for prevention of and justice in cases of all kinds of mob violence that threaten Rule of Law.
Meanwhile, condemning cow vigilantes for taking the law in their hands, the bench said that such acts could not be permitted.
"The people should not take law into their hands and they should not behave as if they were law unto themselves. This must stop. Such acts are not permissible," the bench said in a stern message.
The bench asked the Centre to respond to the submission that it could issue directions under Article 256 (obligation of states and Union) of the Constitution to all state governments on issues related to law and order.
"Steps have to be taken to stop this. Some kind of planned action is required so that vigilantism does not grow.
Efforts have to be made to stop such vigilantism," the bench said, adding "how will they (states) do it, is their business but this must stop."
The court also asked state governments to ensure highway patrolling after it was pointed out that such incidents took place on highways on the pretext that vehicles are carrying beef.
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