[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Rajasthan Government has introduced two separate bills to end honour killings and mob lynching in the state
The state’s Parliamentary Affairs minister, Shanti Dhariwal introduced to the Legislative Assembly on July 30, 2019, the Rajasthan Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances in the name of Honour and Tradition Bill, 2019, and the Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019, making both of them non-bailable offences with heavy penalties, including the death sentence for honour killing.
The Rajasthan Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances in the name of Honour and Tradition Bill, 2019
The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill refers to the spurt in illegal intimidation by “self-appointed bodies for bringing pressure against Sagotra marriages and inter-caste, inter-community and inter-religious marriages between two consenting adults in the name of vindicating the honour of family, caste or community”.
“In a number of cases, such bodies have resorted to incitement of violence and such newly married couple or persons desirous of getting married have been subjected to intimidation and violence which has also resulted into their being hounded out of their homes and sometimes even murdered. Although such intimidation or acts of violence constitute offences under the Indian Penal Code, yet, it is necessary to prevent assemblies which take place to condemn such alliances as also to punish such acts of violence and criminal intimidation severely,” the statement asserts.
The Bill lays down the “death penalty” or life sentence and a fine up to Rs 5 lakh for murdering the couple or either individual because their marriage has dishonoured, or brought disrepute to, the caste, community or family. The “life sentence”, meted out for the offence of honour killing will mean imprisonment for the remainder of the convict’s natural life, the Bill clarifies.
The Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019
Referring to the judgement of the Supreme Court of India in Tehseen S. Poonawalla Vs Union of India and Othersdirecting the enactment of legislation to create a separate offence for lynching, the Bill refers to the many incidents “resulting in loss of livelihood, injuries and death of persons at the hands of mob lynching”.
“It is proposed to nip the evil in the bud and to prevent spreading of hatred or incitement to mob lynching by creating special offences against such bob lynching in addition to other offences under the Indian Penal Code,” Bill’s statement of objects and reasons says.
It defines “lynching” as “any act or series of acts of violence or aiding, abetting or attempting an act of violence, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation, ethnicity”.
It provides for (i) life imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 5 Lakh for the offence of lynching, (ii) appointment of a nodal officer of the rank of Inspector-General of Police to prevent lynching, and (iii) establishment of relief camps in safe zones for the victims.