NEW DELHI: Asking the Uni-on and state governments to take stern action against cow vigilante groups unleashing violence, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would attempt to lay down guidelines for compensation to victims of vigilante violence.
Refusing to buy senior advocate Indira Jaising’s argument that the compensation scheme must give special weightage to victims on the basis of their religion, gender and caste, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said ‘victim” was a generic word and anyone could be a victim irrespective of the category she belonged to.
“Anyone can be a victim of mob crime. We do not want to categorise victims of mob violence or lynching on the basis of their caste, gender or religion,” the bench said before reserving its verdict on two petitions by Tehseen Poonawala, Tushar Gandhi and two others.
Appearing for the Centre, additional solicitor general P S Narasimha said mob violence and cow vigilantism were law and order situations which should be dealt with sternly by state governments. Jaising said the Centre must be seen to be doing its bit and not washing its hands off the responsibility cast on it by the Constitution.
On September 6 last year, the SC had ordered states to take immediate steps to rein in cow vigilantes and prevent these gangs from “taking the law in their hands or becoming a law unto themselves” and make highways safe from their vigilantism.
It had directed states to appoint a senior police office for each district as nodal officer to coordinate action against cow vigilante groups. It had ordered chief secretaries of each state to meet the director generals of police to make highways safe from vigilante groups.
Jaisingh and senior advocate Colin Gonsalves complained that despite the order, no tangible action was taken against cow vigilante groups.