Mob lynching to be made offence punishable with death penalty under new law which seeks to replace IPC

As per Section 101(b) of the proposed law, each individual in a group involved in mob lynching will face the death penalty, life imprisonment or a prison term of seven years or more.

Mob lynching will be made a crime punishable with the death penalty under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, which could replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC) if passed by the parliament.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday said in the Lok Sabha that the new Bill would punish individuals involved in cases of mob lynching.

The offence, though not separately defined, is punishable under the same provision as murder – Section 101.

The penalty for mob lynching can be found in Section 101(b), which states,

“When a group of five or more persons acting in concert commits murder on the ground of race, caste or community, sex, place of birth, language, personal belief or any other ground each member of such group shall be punished with death or with imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

In other words, when a murder is committed by a group of five or more persons and the same is done on the ground of race, caste or community, sex, place of birth, language, personal belief or any other ground, each individual in that group will face the death penalty or life imprisonment or a prison term of seven years or more.

While the Bill does not explicitly use the term “mob lynching,” the Home Minister said that the issue of mob lynching has been meticulously reviewed and is now subject to punishment under the new law.

“Mob lynching ka bada shor macha hua hai. Humne usko carefully kara hai…mob lynching ke liye bhi saat saal, aajeewan karavas aur mrityudand…teeno ka pravadhan laya hai,” Shah said.

(There has been a lot of hue and cry about mob lynching, we have seen it very carefully. There are provisions for 7 years imprisonment or life imprisonment and death penalty for mob lynching in this law.)

In 2018 the Supreme Court had condemned the rise of mob violence and lynching in India, while advocating for a separate law to tackle the issue.

The three-judge Bench of then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud had issued a comprehensive set of directives aimed at addressing the problem of mob lynching.

Lynching and mob violence are creeping threats that may gradually take the shape of a Typhon-like monster as evidenced in the wake of the rising wave of incidents of recurring patterns by frenzied mobs across the country instigated by intolerance and misinformed by circulation of fake news and false stories.

Besides, bystander apathy, numbness of the mute spectators of the scene of the crime, inertia of the law enforcing machinery to prevent such crimes and nip them in the bud and grandstanding of the incident by the perpetrators of the crimes including in the social media aggravates the entire problem,” the Court had held.

A public interest litigation was filed recently before the Supreme Court raising concerns about the rise in incidents of mob violence against minorities.

The apex court had, on July 28, sought the response of the Central government and the police in six states.

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