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Supreme Court asks petitioner not to be selective while mentioning mob lynching cases

The Supreme Court recently asked the advocates appearing in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) related to mob violence to not be selective about the cases which they highlight before the Court.

The bench comprising Justice BR Gavai, Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Sandeep Mehta especially asked about the murder of Udaipur-based tailor Kanhaiya Lal, who was killed in 2022 for allegedly sharing a social media post of former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma regarding Prophet Mohammad.

While hearing the PIL petition raising concerns about a rise of incidents of mob violence against minorities and seeking immediate interim compensation for the families of victims of mob lynching, the court asked what about that tailor in Rajasthan, Kanhaiya Lal, who was lynched. 

When Advocate Nizam Pasha, appearing for the petitioners, contended that it was not included in the present petition, the Court remarked that the counsel has to ensure that the plea is not selective at all and if all states are there.

Meanwhile, the counsel appearing for the Gujarat government submitted that only cases of Muslims being lynched were being highlighted before the Court. To this, the court mentioned that such arguments should not be made.

The court asked the counsels not to make submissions based on what they say. It clarified that the cases are not about religion or caste and that the plea has to be about the overall issue which is prevailing. The court further asked the lawyers to be careful about their submissions in court.

The plea argued that the rampant rise in mob violence and lynching was the natural consequence of lack of action by the states, resulting from a general narrative of ostracization that minority communities face. Last year in June, the court sought a response of the Centre and the police of six states on the issue. 

During the hearing on Tuesday, Advocate Pasha submitted that the top court’s directions in Tehseen Poonawalla judgment to avert mob violence was being violated by states. Referring to an incident from Chhattisgarh, the Advocate said that the affidavit by the state shows that it was not mob lynching but a general scuffle. 

The counsel added that news reports show that it was lynching due to alleged beef transportation. He further asked that if the state just denies the incident then how will the judgment be followed?

Justice Gavai while questioning the state’s action in the case asked, why no FIR against the 10-12 persons who committed battery against the two? The counsel representing the state assured the Court that the case will be looked into. Advocate Pasha also highlighted a case from Haryana as well.

Adjourning the matter, the Supreme Court said that the states have to at least respond to what action has been taken in such cases. Consecutively, the court granted six weeks time to all the states who have not filed replies and also details about the steps taken by them in such cases. The bench listed the matter after vacation.

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