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Mob Lynching: An Intentional Extrajudicial Killing

What is Mob Lynching?

Mob Lynching can be defined, “as an act of killing someone without a legal trial” or “a pre-meditated extra judicial killing via group”. In India the situation is quite pulse pounding, the mob or group of self-proclaimed judge, jury & executioner people kills a person who they assume to have committed a crime. The killing can be based on discrimination of caste, religion, sect or gender. Many incidents happens every day where an innocent person is put to death just because he or she belongs to a lower caste, different religion, sexual orientation or even for marrying someone he or she loves. Even the Ex-Hon’ble Chief Justice of India Deepak Mishra observed that, “These extra-judicial attempts under the guise of protectors of the law have to be nipped in the bud; lest it would lead to rise of anarchy which would plague and corrode the nation like an epidemic.”

Hence, Mob Lynching or killings are creeping threats that may soon take shape of typhoon like monster. This monster is hampering the secular, pluralistic and multi-colouristic social order of the country. The state has a responsibility to protect the right of its citizens irrespective of their religion, caste, race, sexual orientation or gender but that is not quite working right now because of undisciplined workforce and communal favouritism. 

Judicial Review

In the case of Tahseen S. Poonawalla vs Union of India, the Apex Court issued guidelines on how to deal with increasing cases of mob lynching in India. The court ordered the state governments to designate senior officers in each district. The apex court also ordered the state government to compile data based on the areas where mob lynching incidents took place. 

In addition to this the court also considered the influence of social media violence and how factually incorrect news, chats are forwarded in order to ignite violence against a specific community or caste. So, the court issued guidelines to file a FIR against the persons to stop the abuse of social media. 

Since all the guidelines issued by the 3 judge bench of supreme court were to be majorly conducted by the police administration, hence the court also considered to take an action against any officer who irresponsibly conducts his or her duty or disturbs the due process of law by putting self-benefits first.

In the July of 2019, Supreme Court was hearing an appeal documented by Anti-Corruption Council of India Trust and the SC seat was going by CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta when Supreme Court gave notice looking for the execution of the past request that requested to draft new enactment with respect to the Mob Lynching issue.

Legal Aspect

Despite of numerous incidents of which most of the attacks where based on rumours there are no specific provisions for mob lynching. IPC Sections 302, 307, 323 & 325 which are charged in the mob lynching cases doesn’t sounds nor look fair as it is a heinous crime against public order and an offence against community as it is not an offence against a person. 

IPC Sections 302- Punishment for murder, 307- Attempt to murder, 323- Punishment for causing hurt, 325- Punishment for causing grievous hurt. 

After Supreme Court issued guidelines, in 2018 Manipur became the first state to pass an eminent Law against issue of mob lynching which Nodal officers for such crimes, establish special courts and enhanced punishment for the same.

The West Bengal (Prevention of Lynching) Bill, 2019 accommodates three years to life detainment to those harming an individual and the death penalty or thorough life detainment for those causing passing. 

The Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019 made mob lynching a cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable offense culpable with life detainment and a fine up to Rs 5 lakh. It follows the rules of Supreme Court and makes Fast track Courts. 

“The Government of Karnataka in September 2019 gave a roundabout delegating Nodal Officer and aide and firmly followed the remedies of Supreme Court’s disciplinary activities. So consistence by the states to Supreme Courts orders has met the rules. However, it can’t be rejected that Indian Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure do flop in perceiving Mob Lynching wrongdoings and issues it carries with itself accordingly bringing about absence of reformatory measures.”


The core issue with Mob Lynching is attacking the fundamental rights of “free just trial” & “innocent proven until guilty” and making them frail and weak. Observing such ferocious crime, the apex court said that the lack of interest from the spectators and passer-by along with irresponsible administration , ineffective legislation and violation of the victims’ rights because of his or her religion, gender, caste or sexual orientation display the country in a state of anarchy and lawlessness. Increase in number of such incidents showcase the return of ancient uncivilised punishment system which gives us a glimpse of failure of system. The guidelines issued are asked to be followed by every state and some of them have already taken an extra step by making laws or proposing bills in the legislature to put a hold on such incidents.

This article is written by Faiz Iqbal, from NMIMS’S School of Law


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