ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Missing the Point

The Supreme Court’s judgment on lynchings fails to address the framework that facilitates them.

The Supreme Court judgment in Tehseen S Poonawalla v Union of India, delivered on 17 July, with guidelines and directions to ostensibly curb the spread of lynching across the nation, does not use the words beef, Hindu, Muslim, Dalit or Savarna. Reading the judgment without context, with repeated references to vigilantism (11 times) and law and order (five times), one would think the Supreme Court is concerned with curbing the activities of a Batman in Gotham City, rather than addressing events in 21st century India.

Authored by the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, the judgment does not seem to suggest any real understanding of the true nature of the problem: that a lynching is not something that happens on the spur of the moment or is just another breakdown of law and order. Rather, it is primarily a tool for maintaining the social order. That it is supposed to remind oppressed communities of the price they will pay for attempting to move ahead of their station in life. That there is a performative element to the whole offence, and that it enjoys tacit or active support of the state machinery.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Or

To gain instant access to this article (download).


Pay
INR 59

(Readers in India)


Pay
$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Published On : 20th Jul, 2018

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.