The Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019, provides for punishment with rigorous imprisonment for life and with a fine which shall not be less than Rs one lakh extending to Rs five lakh.
An offence involving lynching leading to injuries to the victim shall be punishable with imprisonment of either a term which may extend to seven years and with a fine which may extend to Rs one lakh; those contributing or enforcing a hostile environment on a person or a group of persons shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to Rs one lakh.
The Bill also provides for punishment for dissemination of offensive material. Anyone publishing, communicating or disseminating by any method, physical or electronic, any offensive material, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term of not less than one year but which may extend to three years, and with fine which may extend to Rs fifty thousand.
The Bill defines 'lynching' as any act or a series of acts of violence or aiding, abetting or attempting an act of violence, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation and ethnicity.
A 'mob' means a group of two or more individuals; and "offensive material" has been defined as any material that can be reasonably construed to have been made to incite a mob to lynch a person on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation, ethnicity or any other related grounds.
The Bill says that the Director General of Police shall appoint a state coordinator to prevent lynching. The officer will not be below the rank of Inspector General of Police.
The State government shall provide compensation to the victim as per Rajasthan Victim Compensation Scheme.
The victim shall have the right to receive a copy of any statement of the witness recorded during investigation or inquiry, and a copy of all statements and documents filed under section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
A victim shall be entitled to receive free legal aid if s/he so chooses and to engage any advocate who he chooses from among those enrolled in the legal aid panel under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 (Central Act No. 39 of 1987) and the Legal Services Authority established under the said Act shall pay all costs, expenses and fees of the advocate appointed by the victim or informant in accordance with relevant rules.
The bill was introduced by state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal on July 30.
( With inputs from IANS )