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Hate crime in Rajasthan now punishable by death penalty

The bill on hate crimes also provides punishment for holding assemblies to condemn inter-caste, inter-community marriages in the name of family honour.

The Rajasthan assembly passed two bills on Monday in which death penalty has been proposed for hate crimes against couples in the name of honour & tradition, & life imprisonment for mob lynching.

Rajasthan is the first state in India to have a special law to deal with hate crimes against couples, & second after Madhya Pradesh to make a law against mob lynching.

The Rajasthan Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances in the Name of Honour & Tradition Bill, 2019, & the Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019, were tabled in the assembly on July 30 by law minister Shanti Dhariwal.

The bill on hate crimes also provides punishment for holding assemblies to condemn inter-caste, inter-community marriages in the name of family honour.

The bill said a special law for such hate crimes will act as a deterrent as it has severe punishment for such acts of violence & prevent caste & community assemblies that take place to condemn such marriages.

Punishment could be death, imprisonment for life, and/or a fine which may extend to ₹1 lakh.

If cases of grievous hurt to a couple or either of them, the bill prescribes rigorous imprisonment for 10 years which may be extended to life imprisonment & a fine of ₹3 lakh.

For participating in a gathering to condemn a marriage claiming it has dishonoured the caste or community or tradition or brought disrepute, or issuing threats to couples, jail-term can extend from six months to five years, & a fine from ₹1 lakh to ₹2 lakh.

The bill empowers a sub-divisional magistrate or district magistrate to prevent such assemblies & take steps to ensure safety of the couple.

The bill on mob lynching says a person who commits an act of lynching which causes death of the victim will face rigorous life imprisonment & a fine up to ₹5 lakh. In case of grievous hurt, the punishment proposed is jail up 10 years & a fine up to ₹3 lakh.

Offences under the mob lynching bill will be tried by a sessions court & be cognizable, non-bailable & non-compoundable.

The bill also prescribes a jail term of up to five years & penalty of ₹1 lakh for obstructing arrest of the accused, creating hurdles in legal proceedings or threatening the witnesses.

“It is proposed to nip the evil in the bud & to prevent spreading of hatred or incitement to mob lynching by creating special offences against such offences,” the statement of object & reason of the bill said.

The state government, in consultation with a chief justice of the high court, will also set up designated courts to hear mob lynching cases, the bill said,.

Civil society activists such as Aruna Roy of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan & Kavita Srivastava (PUCL) came out strongly against the manner in which the bills were introduced without public consultation.

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