SC seeks response from Raj over cow vigilantism

Jaipur, April 7: The Supreme Court today formally issued notices to the Centre and some states including Rajasthan on a petition which sought a ban on cow protection vigilantes for indulging in violence.

The bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra issued notices to Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka etc. where such vigilante groups are valid and given licenses.

“We want their responses” the bench said seeking replies within four weeks. The hearing took place today amidst nationwide outrage over killing of Pehlu Khan, 55, a dairy farmer allegedly by a cow vigilante group in Behrod, Alwar on Saturday.

Agreeing to adjudicate on the raging controversy for the first time, a division bench of the Supreme Court headed by justice Dipak Misra on October 21 last year said it will examine the issue if the cow protection vigilante groups across the country should be banned for allegedly indulging in violence.

“OK. Let us go though the petition in detail. Yes we will examine the issue”, the bench had told Sanjay Hegde, the senior lawyer who appeared for social activist Tehseen Poonawalla who has filed a PIL on the issue and directed the registry to serve a copy of the petition to the Union of India “so that they can appoint a lawyer” to put forth their stand.

Poonawalla filed the petition in August last year seeking direction to the Centre and some states to take action against so-called cow vigilantes, who are allegedly spreading violence and committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities.

It alleged these groups were committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities in the name of protection of cows and other bovines and they needed to be “regulated and banned in the interest of social harmony, public morality and law and order in in the country”.

The PIL has arrayed as parties Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, governments of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Jharkhand.
Seeking action against the vigilantes, the petition said the atrocities committed by them were punishable under various provisions of IPC and under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of atrocities) Act, 1989.

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