A bench consisting of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud has given errant states a week’s time to file compliance reports on implementation of the Supreme Court’s directives on a plea filed by Tehseen Poonawala and Tushar Gandhi against the incidences of the mob lynching across the country. The Court was informed on September 7, 2018 by Senior Advocate Sanjay Hedge that only nine states and three Union Territories (UTs) have submitted the compliance report so far. Taking strong exception to this lackadaisical approach, the Court has warned that if the compliance report is not filed by the remaining states within a week, their respective Home Secretaries will be asked to appear before the Court.
Appearing for the Union of India, Attorney General, K K Venugopal submitted that the Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by the Home Minister Rajnath Singh is considering whether the legislation against mob lynching will be brought in.
At this juncture, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising — appearing for the petitioner Tushar Gandhi — submitted to the Court that all states be directed to upload the compliance report on their respective websites and that due publicity is given to the directions passed by the Court to curb the menace of mob lynching. The CJI who was presiding bench acceded to the request of Jaising, and ordered so.
The Court was also hearing the contempt petition filed by Tushar Gandhi against the State of Rajasthan in the wake of the dreadful Alwar lynching episode. Jaising submitted that no departmental action had been taken against the errant officials, except transfers. However, ASG Tushar Mehta appearing for the State of Rajasthan, submitted that responsible SHO has already been placed under suspension. At this, the Court directed the Rajasthan government to disclose action/steps taken by the government against the errant officials responsible in Alwar lynching case.
Jaising also drew the Court’s attention to Rule 3 of the Regulation of Societies for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Rules, 2000 that provides for constitution of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to animals in each district. The Rule also confers police power on such societies. These societies, according to Jaising, are indulging in vigilantism in the name of animal protection. CJI inquired from Jaising whether the Rule was challenged, and she submitted a “No”. She added that she would be challenging the said Rule. However, a list of all such societies be brought in public domain before such a challenge is brought before the Court, Jaising suggested. The Court did not pass any order to this effect except suggesting Jaising to challenge the Rule and adjourned the matter to September 24, 2018.