The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the Chief Secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Haryana on a contempt plea filed by Tushar Gandhi, great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, for their failure to curb violence by cow vigilantes in violation of top court's orders.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar, and Justice DY Chandrachud issued the notice on Tushar Gandhi's plea that instead of putting down activities of cow vigilante groups, there was a multi-fold increase in their attacks.
Seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against the Chief Secretaries of the three states, the petitioner sought their summoning to explain their position vis-a-vis the top court's directions on September 6, 2017.
The contempt plea filed by Tushar Gandhi on December 1, 2017, refers to several incidents of targeted lynching of Muslims by the cow vigilante groups in the three states even after the Supreme Court's September 6 order.
"There have been three gruesome incidents of targeted lynching in Rajasthan and Haryana in the last two months," Tushar Gandhi said in his contempt plea, pointing to the "thrashing" of three Muslim clerics in Delhi-Shamli passenger train.
The top court's September 6 order last year had asserted that cow vigilantism has to stop and directed states/Union Territories to appoint district nodal officers to take steps to prevent such attacks and act against perpetrators of such violence.
Observing that cow vigilantism was not "permissible", the court had said that "there has to be some kind of action".
The court had also instructed state Chief Secretaries in coordination with the Directors General of Police to crack down on vigilante groups.
"As far as highway patrolling is concerned, the Chief Secretary of each state, in consultation with the Directors General of Police, shall take steps and file affidavits by the next date of hearing," the court said in its September 6 order as it was told that most such violence by vigilante groups was taking place on the national and state highways.