7 years to life in jail: UP panel draws tough law on mob lynching

The draft bill was submitted to the chief minister along with a report on mob lynching by commission chairman Justice (Retd) A.N. Mittal.

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Taking a view on the rising number of mob lynching incidents, the Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission has recommended jail terms ranging from seven years to life imprisonment for attackers in a draft bill submitted to state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The draft legislation also recommends up to three years term for dereliction of duty by a police officer or a district magistrate, reports Indian Express.

The draft bill was submitted to the chief minister along with a report on mob lynching by commission chairman Justice (Retd) A.N. Mittal.

The state law panel took suo motu cognizance of the incidents of mob lynching. The report said the current law is inadequate and the authorities also need to be held responsible for dereliction of duty if incidents such as these happen under their jurisdiction.
Stressing on making mob lynching a separate offence to instil fear among assailants, the commission’s draft law recommended strict punishment.

Mob lynching bill highlights
– Imprisonment of up to 7 years and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh if the person is injured.
– Imprisonment of up to 10 years with a fine up to Rs 3 lakh if person bore serious injuries.
– Rigorous imprisonment for life along with a fine up to Rs 5 lakh if the victim is dead.
– Persons involved in conspiracy and abetment have to be punished like those who are actually responsible for the lynching.
– Imprisonment of one year has been recommended in cases of dereliction of duty by a district magistrate or a police officer. It may be extended up to three years with a fine up to Rs 5000.
– Prison term of six months for abetting or enforcing a hostile atmosphere’.

For the first time, a draft Bill has not only defined the terms lynching, mob, offensive material, and victim, but also a hostile environment enforced against the victim or a family. This includes public humiliation, depriving fundamental rights, boycott of trade, and compelling a person to leave their home.

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The Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission undertook a suo motu research in this regard around six months ago. The panel also took into account the directions of the Supreme Court as well as High Courts in different cases, Sapna Tripathi, Secretary of the State Law Commission was quoted as saying by The Indian Express. However, she made it clear that it was up to the state government to take the draft bill forward.

Tripathi said the commission’s next case is based on anti-conversion laws with regard to conversion of religion for marriage. On July 18, the then Union minister of state for home Hansraj Ahir had told the Rajya Sabha that the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) does not maintain specific data with respect to lynching incidents in the country.

The home ministry released data on mob lynchings in the Lok Sabha in March 2018 which was recorded by the states.

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