Supreme Court asks all states and Union territories to crack down on cow vigilantism and appoint nodal police officers in every district.
A three-judge Bench of CJ Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar in response to an intervention by Tushar Gandhi directed the Centre cannot wash their hands of its constitutional responsibility under Article 256 and instructed states to take adequate steps in law to save innocent lives from the mob attacks. The court said the centre should reply to Mr Gandhi in the spirit of “co-operative federalism”.
The submission was made by senior advocate Indira Jaisingh which stated “Non -violence is the founding faith of this country. The centre cannot turn its back on the violence. The state’s have responsibility to lodge FIRs against the vigilantes “. Mr Jaisingh also pointed out that most of the violent incidents had occurred on highways hence the need to initiate highway patrolling by the states.
Chief Justice Misra told Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta ,”You have to stop it (violence )”. Mr Mehta represented the four BJP -ruled states Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat and the court asked Mr Mehra to take instructions from the Centre, to specify its role under Article 256 and the steps it would take from its side to prevent any further incidents of violence.
The court directed the Chief Secretaries and the Director General of Police of States to consult with each other and centre on this issue. The next hearing for the case is scheduled on September 22. The four BJP ruled states have accepted the Apex court’s suggestion to appoint dedicated nodal police officers in the rank of DSP to prevent cow vigilantes or gau rakshaks from “taking law or becoming the law unto themselves .” Dalits and Muslims have been at the receiving end of the violence unleashed by the gau rakshaks especially in the northern states.
A bunch of petitions led by Congress activist Tehseen Poonawalla had sought criminal actions against the cow vigilantes and had also sought a direction to the Central & State government to pull down all the videos of violence uploaded by cow vigilantes on social media sites.
In a previous hearing, the centre said ending vigilantism and violence by cow vigilantes is a ‘State subject ‘ and the Centre has no role to play, though it condemns all forms of violence.
With PTI inputs