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States Obliged to Compensate Victims of Cow Vigilante Groups: SC

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The Supreme Court has said that states were obliged to compensate the victims of cow vigilante groups and asked all of them to file a report on the compliance of its order by appointing a nodal officer to prevent violence by such vigilante groups. “Victims are to be compensated. It is obligatory on the part of the state to compensate the victim of crime,” said the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud. Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, the state is under obligation to have a scheme for victim compensation and if they don’t have, then they should have one, it added. Senior counsel Indira Jaising, appearing for Tushar Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, had urged the apex court to order compensation to the victims of violence by the vigilante groups. The court’s observation that it was incumbent upon the state to pay compensation to the victim of crime, came in the course of the hearing on a batch of petitions, including by Tushar Gandhi seeking its intervention on curbing violence by cow vigilante groups. Jaising maintained that she was not asking for the formulation of a new scheme and just seeking the enforcement of the existing scheme in the case of the victims of cow vigilantism, referring to the case of Junaid who was beaten up and stabbed in a moving train between Delhi and Ballabgarh, was getting treated at a private hospital in Delhi and needed compensation immediately. She also said that there should be a National Policy for the Prevention of Crime. Telling Jaising that they are not going to pass any order at this stage, the court said that all these issues can be raised during the next hearing of the matter on October 31. The court said that if the petitioners wanted, they can file a separate petition on the issue of compensation. Senior counsel Kapil Sibal, also appearing for one of the petitioners, told the court that while the perpetrator of violence in the name of protecting cows were on bail, the victims faced FIRs and persecution. “There are several FIRs lodged in cases involving violence by cow vigilante groups and not in one case, anything has happened,” he told the bench. In the last hearing of the matter on September 6, the top court had said that that cow vigilantism has to stop and directed states/union territories to appoint district nodal officers to take steps to prevent and act against perpetrators of such violence. “This must stop. What action have you taken? It is not permissible. There has to be some kind of action,” the court had said while seeking the response of the state governments. While directing appointment of nodal officers in each district, the top court had in the last hearing instructed the state Chief Secretaries in coordination with Director Generals of Police to crack down on vigilante groups.