Recommending jail terms ranging from seven years to life imprisonment for assailants and up to three years for dereliction of duty by a police officer or district magistrate, the Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission has drawn up a stringent law to deal with rising incidents of mob lynching.
In a report that contains the draft Uttar Pradesh Combating of Mob Lynching Bill, 2019 — it has been submitted to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath by commission chairman Justice (retd) Aditya Nath Mittal — the state law panel, while taking suo motu cognizance of incidents of mob lynching, has said the existing law is not sufficient and there is need to not just punish the wrongdoers but also hold authorities responsible for dereliction of duty if such incidents take place under their watch.
Underlining that mob lynching be made a separate offence to inculcate fear among miscreants, the commission’s draft law recommends stringent punishment:
* Imprisonment up to 7 years and fine up to Rs 1 lakh if the victim is injured.
* Imprisonment up to 10 years and fine up to Rs 3 lakh if victim suffers serious injuries.
* Rigorous imprisonment for life and fine up to Rs 5 lakh if the victim dies.
* Those involved in conspiracy, abetment be punished like those actually involved in lynching.
* In case of dereliction of duty by police officer or district magistrate, imprisonment of one year, which may be extended to three years and fine up to Rs 5000.
* Imprisonment of six months for contributing or enforcing a hostile environment.
The draft Bill not only defines “lynching”, “mob”, “victim” and “offensive material” but also “hostile environment” created against the victim or family, including boycott of trade, public humiliation, depriving fundamental rights, and forcing a person to leave home etc.
Sapna Tripathi, Secretary of the State Law Commission, told The Indian Express: “The commission realised that mob lynching is a global problem faced even by US, countries in Africa etc for long. Thus, the commission thought of undertaking a suo motu study in this regard about six months ago. We also took into account directions of the Supreme Court and High Courts in different cases.”
“The commission only recommends and proposes to state government, it is up to the state government to accept it or take it forward.” She said the commission’s next study is on “anti-conversion laws” related to conversion of religion for the purpose of marriage.