Supreme Court Directs States to Detail Actions on Mob Lynching Incidents Following PIL by NFIW

In "National Federation of Indian Women v. Union of India & Ors.", SC orders states to detail actions on mob lynching, following NFIW's PIL.

The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, April 16, issued directives to states that had not responded to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) regarding the rise in mob lynching incidents. The court instructed these states to submit detailed affidavits outlining the actions taken in response to the incidents mentioned in the PIL.

"Most of the States have not filed their Affidavits. It was expected of the States to at least respond to what action has been taken in such cases. We, therefore, grant six weeks time to all the states who have not yet filed replies to file their Counter, and also detail steps taken by them in such cases," ordered the Bench Comprising Justices BR Gavai, Aravind Kumar, and Sandeep Mehta.

Advocate Nizam Pasha represented NFIW and based his arguments on the affidavits submitted by the States of Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Haryana. He contended that incidents of mob lynching or violence were being misrepresented as normal accidents or fights, thereby disregarding the guidelines set forth by the Supreme Court in the Tehseen Poonawalla case.

In Tehseen Poonawalla's judgment, the Supreme Court had issued comprehensive guidelines to both union and state governments regarding the prevention of lynching and mob violence.

Pasha began by examining the affidavit from the State of Madhya Pradesh, demonstrating how the guidelines laid out in the Tehseen Poonawalla case were not being adhered to by the states. He highlighted a specific instance from the affidavit where a dispute over meat falling from polythene escalated into a scuffle among individuals. Despite media reports labeling it as mob lynching, no FIRs were registered against the perpetrators who assaulted individuals transporting the meat.

Justice BR Gavai questioned the State's Counsel about the lack of FIRs against the assailants, emphasizing that FIRs should be filed when injuries are inflicted upon individuals.

Advocate Nachiketa Josi, representing the State of MP, explained that FIRs were registered under the Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act.

Justice Sandeep Mehta further inquired about the basis for registering FIRs under the Cow Slaughter Act without chemical reports, to which the counsel responded that FIRs are lodged if the accused is found with meat at the scene, with further analysis conducted later.

Pasha then turned to Haryana's affidavit, illustrating how incidents of mob violence and lynching were being portrayed as ordinary accidents. He argued that denying the occurrence of mob lynching undermines the efficacy of the guidelines established in the Poonawalla Judgment.

Pasha emphasized that the states had not complied with the guidelines outlined in the Poonawalla case, as there was no indication of the actions taken by them concerning the incidents mentioned in the petition.

Acknowledging the lack of affidavits from most states (except MP and Haryana), the court granted six weeks for the remaining states to provide detailed responses regarding the steps taken in response to the mob lynching incidents cited in the petition.

During the proceedings, Justice Aravind Kumar queried Pasha about the inclusion of the murder of tailor Kanhaiya Kumar in Udaipur in the petition. Pasha assured the court that if the incident was not mentioned, it would be included.

After learning that Kanhaiya Kumar's lynching incident was not mentioned, Senior Advocate Archana Pathak Dave (representing the State of Gujarat) alleged religious bias in the petition, claiming it only concerned Muslims and not other communities.

Justice Sandeep Mehta intervened, urging against viewing the matter through the lens of caste or religion and emphasizing the need to address it holistically.

The case, titled "National Federation of Indian Women v. Union of India & Ors.", is scheduled for the post-Supreme Court summer vacation session.