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4th August 2018 The Hindu Editorial Analysis under 10 mins series
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Supreme court's directive on mob lynchings; Human trafficking numbers and compensation act

Shobana Shermeelee
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  1. 4th Aug 2018 THE HINDU Editorial Analysis ha ii

  2. Checking the new abnormal After the recent rise in lynchings, the Supreme Court observed last month that "it is the responsibility of the States to prevent untoward incidents and to prevent crime." In Tehseen S. Poonawalla v. Union of India (July 17, 2018), the court noted, "When any core group with some kind of idea take the law into their own hands, it ushers in anarchy, chaos, disorder and eventually, there is an emergence of a violent society. Vigilantism cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be given room to take shape, for it is absolutely a perverse notion." The preventive guidelines require every State to designate a senior police officer, not below the rank of Superintendent of Police, as the Nodal

  3. ....Officer in each district. This officer will constitute a special task force to collect intelligence on persons likely to commit such crimes or who are involved in spreading hate speech, provocative statements and fake news Nodal Officers, upon being designated, have been directed to "take steps to prohibit instances of dissemination of offensive material through different social media platforms or any other means Additionally, both the Central and State governments have been directed to broadcast public notifications on radio, television and other media platforms informing the public of the consequences of taking the law into their hands Amongst the remedial measures, the Supreme Court has directed that in case of an incident of lynching or mob violence, the jurisdictional police

  4. ....station shall immediately lodge a first information report (FIR). The Station House Officer, in whose police station such an FIR is registered shall intimate the Nodal Officer whose duty will be to ensure that the victim's family members are not further harassed Nodal Officers have been made duty-bound to ensure that investigation and prosecution of such cases is strictly carried out, the charge sheet filed within the prescribed time period, and the trial concluded through fast- track courts within six months. The court has also directed that, upon conviction, the maximum sentences provided for various offences be awarded, and this should hopefully act as a deterrent o In the course of arguments, reference was made to the U.S. where lynching was, at one point, rampant, and several American judgments were cited to emphasise that every citizen must abide by the law

  5. This, however, may be an oversimplification, for in the case of the U.S., it took almost a hundred years between the Civil War (1861-1865) and the Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968) for the rampant practice of mob violence to be wiped out Pertinently though, in the American context, between 1882 and 1968 nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were moved in the U.S. Congress, and seven Presidents, between 1890 and 1952, petitioned Congress to pass a federal law. However, no bill was approved by the Senate, due to the opposition by the conservative South. Eventually, in 2005, the U.S. Senate formally apologised for not passing an anti-lynching law when it was most needed In India, such mob lynchings are due to deep-seated insecurities that are being stoked, especially among young people frustrated by the lack of employment opportunities, to spread a fundamentalist agenda

  6. Life after rescue o West Bengal has a Victim Compensation Scheme for trafficking survivors, but its execution needs to be drastically improved Following a 2010 directive from the Supreme Court that compensation should be paid to victims of sexual assault, acid attacks and trafficking, many States have set up victim compensation funds. According to the West Bengal Victim Compensation Scheme, 2017, Rs. 1 lakh is the amount be paid to victims of human trafficking as compensation . The latest figures of the National Crime Records Bureau, released in 2017 show that of the 8,132 cases of human trafficking recorded in the country (January to December 2016), 3,579 cases (around 44%) were from West. Bengal 9

  7. Of late, the judiciary has begun taking an active interest in the issue. On July 5, 2018, a Division Bench of Justices Ravi Krishan Kapur and Joymalya Bagchi of the Calcutta High Court observed that "the menace of trafficking of women and minors has assumed alarming proportions." A directive by the Bench that is likely to have a positive impact is that there should be a provision for interim compensation for the survivors, which is to be given to them soon after they record their statements