Bengal govt to table Anti-lynching bill

  1. The West Bengal government has decided to table the West Bengal Prevention of Lynching Bill, 2019 in the State Assembly.
  2. It proposes three categories of punishment: a) maximum three-year jail and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh if the act leads to the victim “suffering hurt”; b) 10 years and up to Rs 3 lakh in case of “grievous hurt”; and c) “rigorous imprisonment for life and fine not less than Rs 1 lakh and up to Rs 5 lakh” in case of death.
  3. The Bill also proposes a maximum one-year jail term and a fine up to Rs 50,000 for those who spread or publish or communicate “offensive material”. It also proposes a jail term of maximum of three years and fine up to Rs 1 lakh for those who create “a hostile environment for a person or a group of persons”.
  4. The bill further states that the state will provide protection to victims, who can also choose any advocate from the legal aid panel under the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987. The state will also provide free medical treatment and provide compensation as per the Compensation Scheme.
  5. It states that cases of lynching will only be investigated by police officers above the rank of inspector, except under “special circumstances”.
  6. It also proposes to set up a special task force with a state co-ordinator not below IG-rank and nodal officers to prevent incidents of lynching.
  7. Recently, the Rajasthan government had passed a mob lynching law- Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019. Further, State Law Commission in Uttar Pradesh drafted the UP Combating of Mob Lynching Bill, 2019, and submitted it to Chief Minister.