Taking note of the recent cases of violence in North Indian states, an angry Supreme Court on Friday, Aug 10 said that it is not going to wait for the government to amend the law on vandalism.
The apex court termed incidents of vandalism of private and public properties by different religious groups during protests across the country as "grave" and noted that such incidents of violent protests and rioting have become common place in the country.
Citing examples of the protests that happened before the release of the controversial film Padmaavat when members from a religious group had openly threatened to cut the lead actresses nose, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said that directions will be issued in this matter.
Attorney General KK Venugopal told the bench that various authorities like the superintendent of police of the concerned areas should be held responsible in such cases of vandalism and rioting.
Referring to the protests in Maharashtra regarding Maratha reservation and the recent incidents involving Kanwariyas, the court said that such incidents have become a routine thing in the country now.
Venugopal stressed on fixing responsibility on the concerned officers by giving the example of the open threat to Padmaavat actors saying that no action was taken by the police in the matter and no FIRs were registered.
He proved his point by stating the example of how unauthorised constructions in the national capital had stopped after the responsibility was fixed on concerned DDA officials, while asking the bench to fix the responsibility on the officers concerned.
When Venugopal told the court that the government was contemplating an amendment in the existing law and the honourable court should allow it to bring suitable changes to the law, the court said that the situation was grave and it would not wait for amendments. "This must stop," quipped the court.
The court reserved its order on a plea filed by the Kodungallur Film Society seeking enforcement of the apex court's directions passed in 2009 in one of its verdicts.
The court had in 2009 issued a slew of directions and said that organisers of any protests shall be held responsible personally for any kind of loss or damage of private and public property in the ruckus. It had also ordered that police authorities should videograph such protests so that it would be easy to fix accountability on the rioters.
The Supreme Court said that it will tighten the norms that it laid in the 2009 directions to prevent any kind of violence in the future. The comments of the apex court come just a few days after a mob of agitated kanwariyas had vandalised a car in Delhi's Moti Nagar and a police vehicle in Bulandshahr disrupting public activity.