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In A Landmark Move, Rajasthan Legislative Assembly Passes Law Against Lynching

Rajasthan will now be the second state after Manipur to have a dedicated law criminalising mob lynching as a special offence.

The Rajasthan legislative assembly on Monday, August 5, passed a bill providing for life imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 5 lakh to convicts in cases of mob lynching involving the victim’s death.

Called the “Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019”, it was passed by the Vidhan Sabha by a voice vote amid vociferous protest by the Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP, per reports, wanted the Bill to be referred to a select committee.

Rajasthan will now be the second state after Manipur to have a dedicated law criminalising mob lynching as a special offence, in addition to other offences under the Indian Penal Code.

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The Bill was introduced by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal in the state assembly last week, in furtherance of the recommendations made by the Supreme Court in Tehseen S. Poonawalla v. Union of India. The Bill follows the apex court’s recommendations in authorising the setting up of special courts, the appointment of a dedicated nodal officer, and stipulating enhanced punishments.

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The Bill defines lynching as an act or series of acts of violence or aiding, abetting or attempting an act of violence, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob (two or more persons) on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation and ethnicity.

“It is proposed to nip the evil in the bud and to prevent spreading of hatred or incitement to mob lynching by creating special offences against such offences,” read the statement of object and reason of the Bill.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had announced to bring in the Bill while replying to the debate on state Budget on July 16.

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