The Group of Ministers (GoM) formed to curb lynchings in the country has not really had an official meeting yet, a senior official communicated with The Hindu regarding the same. According to The Hindu, the official told them that pre-existing laws are enough to tackle the problem, but the problem lies in the enforcement of these legislations. The police forces need to understand that conviction in these cases is important and they need to ensure it does.
According to The Hindu, he said it is unlikely that a new law to combat the lynching problem will be passed, considering that the existing laws seem enough.
The GoM was set up in 2018, after a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra passed a slew of directions to provide “preventive, remedial and punitive measures” to deal with offences like mob violence and vigilantism in the name of cow protection. The GoM was constituted during PM Modi’s first term.
This month, the Rajasthan State Legislative Assembly has also passed Rajasthan Protection from lynching Bill, 2019, providing as harsh a punishment as life imprisonment to offenders. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) usually checks with bills which are revolting to the Centre’s laws and then they go for the President’s Assent. The centre will examine this bill before passing it as a law as this bill seeks to amend the IPC.
The GoM met with social media platforms and their handlers; and discussed the scenario of misinformation to take action against the people who spread such rumours. “We ensured that they appoint a representative here so that police complaints are acted on in real time as their headquarters and servers are located in foreign countries,” the official told the newspaper. This would be in reference to spreading rumours that cause these lynchings.
In May-June of 2018, more than 20 people were lynched based on fake posts or rumours of child-lifting shared on various social media platforms. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) does not maintain data with respect to lynching incidents in the country and the incidents are listed in crimes like murder.