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SC asks Centre to file report on cases of attacks on Christians

Source: PTI
March 29, 2023 21:47 IST
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to file a report on alleged attacks on Christian institutions and priests across the country as well as on the implementation of its earlier guidelines to curb hate crimes.

IMAGE: Christians gather at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, to protest attacks on the community, February 19 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala directed the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) to collate a report on the states' compliance with the court's guidelines and file the same before it.

The court passed the directions after the petitioner's counsel, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, said nodal officers have been notified in every district but they are not registering cases, even though hate speeches have been delivered during rallies in Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and such news appear regularly on television and in newspapers.

 

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati opposed the submission made by Gonsalves, saying it is "easy to make sweeping statements".

The CJI then said, "Let the MHA file a reply.... We can keep this after two weeks."

In 2018, the apex court issued a slew of guidelines for the Centre and states for dealing with hate crimes. These included fast-track trials, compensation to the victims, deterrent punishment and disciplinary action against lax law-enforcing officials. The court said offences such as hate crimes, cow vigilantism and lynching should be nipped in the bud.

The states shall designate a senior police officer not below the rank of superintendent of police as the nodal officer for the implementation of the guidelines in each district, the court had said, adding that these officers will set up a task force, to be assisted by a DSP-rank officer, for taking measures to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching.

The state governments shall immediately identify the districts, sub-divisions and villages where instances of lynching and mob violence have been reported in the recent past, the court had said. 

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