SC asks Centre, states not to protect any kind of vigilantism
The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre and the states not to protect any kind of vigilantism and sought their response on violent incidents in the garb of cow protection.
The apex court did so even as the Centre said it condemns any kind of vigilantism but the law and order is a state subject and that it has no role to play in the matter.
However, a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said that Centre and state should not protect any kind of vigilantism.
"You say that law and order is a state subject and states are taking actions as per law. You don't protect any kind of vigilantism," the bench, also comprising A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar, asserted.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that Parliament was also informed yesterday by the government that it does not support any kind of vigilantism.
"Law and order is a state subject and the Central government does not have any role to play into it. However, Union of India is of the view that no vigilante group has any space in the country as per procedures of law. It does not support any kind of vigilantism by private persons," Kumar said.
He sought some time to file a reply to the petition.
Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde appearing for one of the petitioners said that the Centre and various states have not filed their replies to the petition.
The counsel appearing for Gujarat said that there was only one such incident of cow vigilantism in the state and necessary action has been taken against those responsible.
Jharkhand in its reply accepted that few incidents of violence have indeed taken place in the recent past but termed them as "stray incidents" and said that people engaging in violence have been booked as per law.
In its affidavit it said, compensation has been paid to the victims of violence perpetrated by Gau Rakshaks (cow vigilante groups) and added that steps have been taken to restore "confidence of the aggrieved community."
The apex court also sought the assistance of the Centre and states for removing violent content related to cow vigilantism uploaded on social media.
The bench asked Centre and other states to file their detailed reply and posted the matter for further hearing on September 6.
The apex court had on April 7 sought the response of six states on the plea, filed on October 21 last year, seeking action against cow vigilantes who were allegedly indulging in violence and committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities.