Crack down on moral police, SC to states

Crack down on moral police, SC to states

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the state governments to set up rapid response teams.

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the state governments to set up rapid response teams, preferably in every district, to tackle violence through moral police.

The top court also mooted helplines to deal with mob violence. It directed the state police to create and maintain a cyber information portal on its website and on its internet-based application for reporting instances of mob violence and destruction of public and private properties.

In a judgement, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said the persons who initiated, promoted, instigated or any way caused to occur any act of violence against cultural programmes or which resulted in loss of life or damage to public or private property either directly or indirectly, shall be made liable to compensate the victims of such violence.

The bench issued a slew of directions for implementation by the Union and the state governments within eight weeks on a writ petition filed by Kerala-based 'Kodungallur Film Society'. It said these measures will operate in case of any peaceful protest turning into mob violence, causing loss of life or damage to public and private property, including violence designed to instill fear in the minds and terrorise the common man.

Film-related violence

The petitioner cited the law and order problems arising out of the release of several films, especially after 'Padmaavat'. It contended fundamentalist outfits and fringe groups issued threats and engaged in acts of violence against people and property to disrupt and prevent public exhibitions of the films on the pretext that they offend their cultural or religious sentiments.

The top court relied upon its previous judgement on 'In Re: Destruction of Public and Private Properties v. Govt. of AP (2009), Tehseen Poonawalla (2018) (mob violence and lynching) and Shakti Vahini (honour killings).

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