Rajasthan Assembly Current Affairs - 2019
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Rajasthan Assembly passes Bill against honour killing, titled Rajasthan Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances in the Name of Honour and Tradition Bill, 2019. It makes honour killing punishable by death penalty or life imprisonment. This Bill was passed after making a few amendments on basis of suggestions given by some MLAs during discussion.
Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot had announced enactment of laws against mob lynching and honour killing while replying to debate on State budget 2019-20 on July 16.
In name of vindicating honour of family/caste/community, there has been increase in illegal intimidation by self-appointed bodies for bringing pressure against Sagotra marriages (Marriages within gotra)/inter-community/inter-caste/inter-religious marriages between two consenting adults.
In many cases such bodies tend towards incitement of violence and such newly-married couple or those person who desire of getting married are subjected to intimidation and violence even when such violence is an offence under Indian Penal Code (IPC), it is necessary to prevent assemblies which take place to condemn such matrimonial alliances as also to punish such acts of violence and criminal intimidation severely.
Key Features of Bill
Punishment: Bill makes Honour Killing offence cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable offences. It has laid down death penalty/life sentence and a fine up to Rs.5 lakh for killing a couple or either of them on basis that their marriage had dishonoured or brought disrepute to caste/community/family.
Ostracisation: Bill holds accountable those who indulge in ostracisation of such a couple or their family. This also includes pressurising them to leave village or dispossessing them of their land or property or imposing a fine on them.
Definition of Unlawful Assembly: It is a congregation of people whose intention is to deliberate on, or condemning any marriage (not prohibited by law) on basis that such marriage has dishonoured caste/ community tradition or has brought disrepute to all or any of persons forming part of assembly/family/people of locality concerned.
In Bill “assemble”, “congregate” or “gather” includes acting in concert with use of any technological means/medium, since such proposed actions are propagated on social media.
Assembly Penalty: Members of such assembly shall be punishable with imprisonment between 6 months to 5 years and fine up to Rs.1 lakh. Endangering liberty of such a couple or their supporters shall be punished with 2-5 years and fine up to Rs 1 lakh. Bill also proposes punishment up to 7 years for criminal intimidation.
Punishment based on Level of Hurt:
For causing simple hurt- is 3-5 year imprisonment and fine up to Rs 2 lakh.
For causing grievous hurt- a minimum of 10 year imprisonment that may extend to life imprisonment, as well as fine up to Rs.3 lakh.
For causing death of such a couple/either of them- Convict may be punished with death, imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for remainder of that person’s natural life and with fine up to Rs 5 lakh.
Tags: Honour Killing • Honour Killing Bill • Indian Penal Code (IPC) • Intercaste • Rajasthan Assembly
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.