Taking cognisance of incidents of mob lynching, including those by cow vigilantes, the Uttar Pradesh Law Commission has submitted a draft Bill recommending up to life imprisonment for the crime.
Commission chairman Justice (retd) AN Mittal submitted a report on mob lynching, along with the draft Bill, to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday.
The 128-page report cited various cases of lynching in the state and recommended the immediate enactment of a law as per recommendations made by the Supreme Court in 2018.
The commission said the existing laws to combat lynchings were not sufficient and asserted that there should be a separate law to tackle them. It suggested a punishment ranging from seven years in jail to life imprisonment for the offence.
Suggesting that such a law may be called the Uttar Pradesh Combating of Mob Lynching Act, the commission specified the responsibilities of police officers and district magistrates, spelling out the punishment for failing in their duty.
The panel said the law should also provide for compensation to the family of the victim for grievous injury or loss of loss of life and property.
There should also be provisions for the rehabilitation of the victims and their families, it said.
As per the available data from 2012 to 2019, 50 incidents of mob violence have taken place in the state.
Of around 50 victims, 11 died. Twenty-five of these were cases of major assault, including those by cow vigilantes.
"In the backdrop of this situation, the commission took up the study suo motu and accordingly recommended the state government the need for having a comprehensive law to combat lynching," law commission secretary Sapna Tripathi told PTI Thursday.
The report said only Manipur has made a special law against lynchings and, as per media reports, the Madhya Pradesh government is soon going to enact it.
It referred to various cases of lynching and mob violence in the state, including the 2015 killing of Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri on the suspicion of beef consumption.
It mentioned the killing of Inspector Subodh Singh on December 3, 2018, in a clash between police and Hindutva groups in Bulandshahr after cattle carcasses were found in a field.
The chairman noted that mobs were now turning on police as well. "Incidents of mob violence have taken place in districts of Farukkhabad, Unnao, Kanpur, Hapur and Muzaffarnagar. Police are also becoming victims as people have started thinking of them as their enemy," Mittal said in the report.
"The killing of a head constable in Ghazipur and a jail warden are examples of this," he said.
The panel studied laws of different countries and states, and decisions of the Supreme Court while preparing the draft legislation. It suggested punishment for conspiracy, aid or abetment in such cases, as well as for obstructing the legal process.