Activists against gau rakshaks demand amendment to law

Mangaluru: With the Supreme Court showing concern over vigilantism and lynching by self-styled “hau rakshaks”, and  issuing 'preventive, remedial and punitive,' guidelines to the Centre and state government to prevent mob attacks , activists here are demanding that section 15 of the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964 be removed.

The court’s order was based on a petition by Tehseen Poonawalla, who had pleaded with it to declare section 12 of the Gujarat Animal Prevention Act, 1954, section 13 of the Maharashtra Animal Prevention Act, 1976 and  section 15 of the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964 unconstitutional. Activists fighting against vigilantism agree that the sections should be cancelled as they could be used by the vigilante groups to support their acts. 

Pointing out that section 15 of the Karnataka laws says no suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings can be instituted against anyone for an act done in good faith,  the activists say it can easily be interpreted by the gau rakshaks for their benefit.

“It could provide a handle for those who want to take law into their own hands. Depending on the prevailing political dispensation they could get immunity from the law. They may quote this section even in court. They would say that they have acted 'in good faith,' under the act. This section must be cancelled by the state government," demands Karnataka Komu Sauhardha Vedike Dakshina Kannada district president, Suresh Bhat,

Noting that there are enough provisions within the present IPC sections to punish those involved in vigilantism and lynching, he deplores that the government fails to enforce them and believes it must act now on the orders of the Supreme Court. 

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