Kolkata: In a bid to curb incidents of mob lynching in the state, the West Bengal government tabled a stringent bill - Prevention of Lynching Bill, 2019 in the Bengal Legislative Assembly on Friday. While a few BJP MLAs did raise objections to the bill, it was passed unanimously on the floor of the house after the state education minister Partha Chatterjee introduced it.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who attended the Assembly proceedings when the bill was tabled said, “We are the first state to introduce this bill. Supreme Court has asked states to act to prevent cases of lynching. Someone has to wake up early and our state has taken cognisance of the matter. Rajasthan Assembly wanted to pass it but could not as they did not take prior consent from the Governor. In our case, we took prior consent from the Governor.”
Banerjee added, “In the name of caste, religion, personal enmity, rumours of child lifting or mere politics, one cannot resort to mob lynching. This bill will act and prevent cases of mob lynching.”
The bill was tabled amidst the uproar of the opposition MLAs who pointed out that the maximum punishment for lynching was not the death penalty in the draft copy and the Leader of Opposition in the house, Abdul Mannan demanded an amendment.
The Chief Minister in return claimed that there was a printing mistake in the draft copy and the maximum punishment for mob lynching resulting in the death of a person would be death penalty instead of life imprisonment and an amendment was not necessary.
The Prevention of Lynching Bill, 2019 aims to protect the constitutional rights of vulnerable persons and prevent incidents of lynching. The bill proposes strict action against those found guilty of being involved in such crimes.
The state will appoint a nodal officer in Kolkata as well as Bengal Police area to monitor and prevent cases of lynching across the state.