The govt told the court that no vigilante group has any space in the country as per the procedures of law.
New Delhi: The Centre categorically said on Friday that it did not support any form of “cow vigilantism” as the Supreme Court sought to know the government’s stand on gau raksha violence.
A three-judge Bench of Justices Dipak Misra, A.M. Kanwilkar and M.M. Shantanagouder was hearing a batch of petitions seeking a ban on cow vigilante groups allegedly killing innocent people.
Solicitor general Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre, said, “The government’s stand is clear, it is a state subject and it is for the states to deal with the issue. Union of India has no role to play, but the government has told Parliament that it does not support any form of vigilantism.”
Mr Kumar said the government’s position would be spelt out in its affidavit to be filed soon. The hearing will continue on September 6.
When Justice Misra told the solicitor general, “You say that law and order is a state subject and states are taking actions as per law. You don’t protect any kind of vigilantism,” Mr Kumar said, “Yes, our stand is clear.”
The Union of India is of the view that no vigilante group has any space in the country as per the procedures of law, he added.
Counsel appearing for BJP-ruled Gujarat and Jharkhand informed the court that appropriate action had been taken against those involved in violent activities related to cow vigilantism.
The petitioners likened “gau rakshaks” to the now-disbanded “Salwa Judum”, a vigilante group formed by the Chhattisgarh government by arming civilians to kill the Maoists.
The petitioners alleged that some states like Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra had given “licenses” to vigilante groups to check trucks carrying meat.
The petitioners submitted that state laws and the protection granted, therewith, act as a catalyst to the violence perpetrated by these vigilantes group.
The actions of cow vigilante groups were in complete violation of Article 21 of the Constitution as they took away the victims’ right to life and personal liberty, the petitioners said.
The bench asked the Centre and other states to file their responses and posted the matter for hearing on September 6.