States obliged to compensate victims of cow vigilante groups, says SC

Representational image

Representational image

The Supreme Court Friday said states were under obligation to compensate victims of violence by cow vigilante groups even without any judicial order. "It is obligatory on the part of the state to compensate the victim of crime", said the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud. "States are obliged to frame victim compensation schemes and grant assistance to victims of violence".

The court also said that if any state does not have a compensation scheme for victims of cow protectors, it should formulate one under the Criminal Procedure Code. "Not only in Haryana, but in many other instances in other states, no compensation has been paid to victims of cow vigilantism", she said. She also said that there should be a National Policy for the Prevention of Crime. The bench asked other states to submit their reports soon, scheduling the next hearing for October 31.

"Let the compliance reports be filed.nobody can wash off their hands (from their duty)".

Ms Indira Jaising, appearing for journalist Tushar Gandhi, brought to the notice of the court 66 alleged incidents of mob lynching and assaults in the name of cow vigilantism after the central government's undertaking in the court. "We will give directions to all the states", the bench said. In the last hearing of the matter on September 6, the top court had said that cow vigilantism has to stop and directed states/union territories to appoint district nodal officers to take steps to prevent and act against perpetrators of such violence.

As per the order, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh filed compliance reports.

"The senior police officer shall take prompt action and will ensure vigilante groups and such people are prosecuted with promptitude", it had said, adding that the nodal officers have to ensure that cow vigilantes did not become a law unto themselves.

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