The Supreme Court on Friday sought the response of the Central and State governments to a public interest litigation (PIL) petition seeking uniform and fair compensation policy for victims of mob lynching in the country.
A bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna issued notice on the plea filed by the Indian Muslims for Progress and Reforms, through advocate Rizwan Ahmad.
The petitioner-organisation, Indian Muslims for Progress, submitted that the current approach of State governments towards ex-gratia compensation for victims of hate crimes and mob lynching is ‘whimsical, discriminatory and arbitrary’, ‘meagre’ and has ‘glaring discrepancies’, reported Bar&Bench.
“The approach of State Government’s … in most cases depend on extraneous factors like media coverage, political imperatives and the victim’s religious identity … such an action by the governments is not only the violation of the equality before law (Article 14) but also a breach of Article 15 which mandates non-discrimination against any citizen,” the plea said.
Such incidents have a significant bearing on the rule of law, it was contended while flagging recent incidents of heinous crimes against minorities.
“In the recent past, self-proclaimed and self-styled vigilantes have brazenly become law unto themselves and have targeted citizens belonging to minority community … targeted violence which mainly originate on suspicion and at times misinformation that the victims were involved in illegal cattle trade,” the petitioner submitted.
The trauma caused by hate crimes and mob lynching can last a lifetime, it was emphasised.
“It is the duty of the government to support the families affected by such atrocities … The antipathy attitude and discrimination in grant of ex gratia compensation to the victims of hate crime/lynching by state governments are further aggravating the suffering of the victims.”
The petitioner prayed that existing compensation schemes, framed pursuant to the top court’s decision in Tehseen Poonawalla, be suitably modified in this regard.
The top court gave the respondents six weeks time to file their replies.