Indian Penal Code Current Affairs - 2019
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Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019 was passed by Rajasthan Assembly by a voice vote. Bill was introduced by Shanti Dhariwal Parliamentary Affairs Minister in State Assembly on 30 July 2019.
With passage of Anti-Lynching Bill Rajasthan has become 2nd State after Manipur to have a dedicated legislation that criminalises mob lynching as a special offence. Manipur Assembly had passed a similar Bill in December 2018.
Since April 2017, Rajasthan has witnessed several incidents of mob lynching, when Haryana’s dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was killed allegedly by a mob of cow vigilantes on Jaipur-Delhi national highway.
Features of Bill
Punishment: Bill makes Mob Lynching offence cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable offences. Life imprisonment and a fine up to Rs.5 lakh to convicts in cases of mob lynching involving victim’s death.
Bill makes conspirators for lynching accountable. It specifies punishment for- conspiracy/abetment/aides/attempts to lynch; for dissemination of offensive material; and for enforcing a hostile environment.
Nodal Officer: Bill provides for appointment of a nodal officer of rank of Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to prevent lynchings as well as establishment of relief camps in safe zones for victims.
Definition of lynching: Bill defines lynching as an act of violence, whether spontaneous/planned by a mob on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, sexual orientation, language, dietary practices, ethnicity and political affiliation.
Criticism: Indian Penal Code (IPC) already have sufficient provisions to penalise offenders, while Bill had changed an important definition by describing just two persons as a mob, thus contradicts related provisions of IPC. Also, Supreme Court had recommended only to Parliament to enact such a law.
Arguments: The subject of Bill was part of concurrent list (both state nad centre subjects) and thus State government has power to bring such legislation. Also, definition of mob as 2 or more persons is defended in context that 2 people had ability to grievously harm 3rd person.
Significance: Bill could become a progressive law, which would promote social harmony.
Tags: cow vigilantism • Indian Penal Code • Mob Lynching • Pehlu Khan • Protection from Lynching Bill 2019
India has abstained from voting on United Nation General Assembly (UNGA’s) resolution aimed at examining options to end trade in goods which are used for capital punishment and torture. India stated that it is unacceptable to place death penalty on par with torture that it firmly believe that freedom from torture is a human right which must be respected and protected under all circumstances.
UN General Assembly adopted resolution on- Towards torture-free trade: examining the feasibility, scope and parameters for possible common international standards. The resolution was adopted by 193 member assembly with a recorded vote of 81 in favour, 20 against, and 44 abstentions.
Arguments by India
India argued that incorporating capital punishment into scope of this resolution raised concerns about making an attempt to place it on par with torture.
India stressed that the country remains firmly committed to prevent torture and other such punishment (like cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment).
India stated that where capital punishment is statutorily provided for, due process of law is followed.
It warned the assembly against current resolution, that it may even start a duplicative parallel process related to goods being used for torture and capital punishment and that it will further create ambiguity by conflating different issues.
In India, capital punishment is a statutory provision, but at the same time it is used in rarest of rare cases. Also, acts of torture are punishable in India under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Indian judiciary system serves as a bulwark against any such violations of human rights.