The Supreme Court on Friday asked the states, which have knocked its door in the cow vigilantism matter, to file an affidavit. The apex court also told the Centre and states not to protect any kind of vigilantism, according to the news agency PTI.
The BJP-ruled Gujarat and Jharkhand informed the court that action has been taken against those involved in violence related to cow vigilantism. The hearing was held in the wake of several recent attacks in the name of cow protection.
Asserting that it does not support any kind of vigilantism in any state, the central government told the bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra, “No vigilante group has any place in the country as per the procedure of law.”
“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, said. It also sought the assistance of the Centre and states for removing violent content related to cow vigilantism uploaded on social media.
“Law and order is a state subject and Central government does not have any role 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,” Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said.
The bench recorded their submission and asked the Centre and other states to file their report regarding to the violent incidents in four weeks time and posted the matter for further hearing on September 6.
On April 7, the Supreme Court had formally issued a notice to the Centre and some of the states on a petition that sought a ban on cow protection vigilantes allegedly indulging in violence and committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities. Activist Tehseen S Poonawalla, in his plea, said violence committed by these ‘Gau Raksha’ groups have reached such proportions that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared them as people who were “destroying the society”.
On Thursday in Rajya Sabha, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stressed on the government’s commitment to crack down on cow vigilantes. He also warned against a “selective morality” where hurting the sentiments of one side is deemed fair but not those of the other.
“All sides have condemned violence, the prime minister has severely condemned it, in fact he has spoken about it thrice. There can be no justification of this violence. Our respect for cows cannot be the reason. Violence can never be a partisan issue. Right to equality and right to religious belief come with the obligation of mutual respect and tolerance…but Mr [Ghulam Nabi] Azad, ask yourself, have we twisted the definition of secularism?”, Jaitley was quoted as saying.