Observer Desk

Posted on 12.09.17 by

Cow Vigilantism Case – Day 1, 2, 3 Arguments

A 3 Judge Bench of the Supreme Court has begun hearing arguments on the Cow Vigilantism case about the growing number of violent incidents by cow vigilantes. The legal challenge specifically pertains to cow protection legislations of some states which seem to provide immunity to these cow vigilantes acting in “good faith”.  The Bench included Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice Amitava Roy.

On 21.10.2016, the first day of the hearing, the court passed an order that the copy of the main petition filed by Tehseen Poonwalla would be served on Centre and the Standing Counsels for the States of Karnataka, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan within the next 3 days.

On 3.05.2017, the next hearing date, Mr Tushar Mehta, Additional Solicitor General appearing for the Union of India, State of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra undertook to file a counter-affidavit within six months. The other States of Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan were also directed to file the counter-affidavits within six months. Mr R.S. Puri, Mr K.V. Vishvanathan, Mr Siddharth Luthra and Mr Tapesh Kumar Singh were impleaded in the matter and scheduled to be heard in subsequent hearings.

On 21.07.2017, the petitioner began the hearings by praying the court to issue a writ of mandamus commanding the State Government to take immediate and necessary action against the ‘cow protection groups’ indulging in violence. The petitioner asked the court to issue a direction to remove violent content from social media uploaded and hosted by these ‘cow protection groups’. Then Mr Ranjit Singh, Solicitor General, responded that ‘law and order’ is a state subject, so the Centre could not be blamed for incidents of violence. He emphasized that the Union did not support the activities of cow vigilantes. Ms Hemantika Wahi, Standing Counsel for Gujarat echoed the sentiments expressed by the Solicitor General and stated that Gujarat didn’t support the activities of any cow protection groups. She added that the Una flogging incident, referred to in the petition was being investigated by the police authorities and the perpetrators would not be spared. After listening to the arguments the court asked the Solicitor General and the counsels appearing for various States to assist the court in curtailing the activities of the vigilantes and suggest ways to work out the same. The matter was listed on 6th September, 2017.

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