New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra will deliver its verdict on how to tackle cases of cow vigilantism and what action be taken if states fail to take measures to curb it.
On July 3, a bench of CJI Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud reserved its verdict on pleas by Tehseen Poonawalla and Thushar Gandhi, who prayed to the court to initiate contempt against states that failed to take measures to combat cow vigilantism.
Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, in his plea told the court that contempt must be instituted against Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, as they had failed to comply with the top court’s order.
In September last year, the apex court had asked all the states to take stern measures to stop violence in the name of cow protection. It had directed states to appoint senior police officers as nodal officers in every district within a week in order to check cow vigilantes from taking "law unto themselves".
The court had also sought response from Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments on a plea seeking contempt action for not following its order to take stern steps to stop violence in the name of cow vigilantism.
The plea filed by Poonawalla mentioned that vigilantes were committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities in the name of protection of cows and they needed to be "regulated and banned in the interest of social harmony, public morality and law and order in the country".
He said that the violence committed by these 'gau raksha' groups has risen to such proportions that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared them as people who are "destroying the society".
The court, while hearing the matter also heard submissions from the Additional Solicitor General PS Narasimha, who had argued that this was a "law and order problem" and was within the domain of the state.
However, the government had later agreed that the Centre was aware of cow vigilantism cases and was taking measures to counter the same.
The bench had demanded that a mechanism to curb acts of violence be set up. “Who will stop them?” the bench asked. “This must stop. Some kind of planned and well-coordinated action is required by the governments so that vigilantism does not grow,” it added.
The court had also asked the governments of Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to submit their replies on the matter. The bench said, “Let the compliance reports be filed. Nobody can wash off their hands [from their duty]. We will give directions to all the states.”