SC raps Centre on provisions to prevent violence against North East people

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has expressed disagreement with the Centre that the prevailing penal provisions were good enough to cover the issue of hate crimes and racial violence, especially against the people of North Eastern states.

“No, it does not,” reacted a bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud when the Centre, while expressing reluctance to suggestions for a specific legislation, said sections 153 A and B of Indian Penal Code (IPC) covered anti-racial issues.

“The examination is going on whether specific legislation is required or not as the provisions of the IPC covers everything and it would be wrong to say it does not cover it,” Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh said.

He said section 153 B IPC covers everything and the court could “examine” it. “We will assist you. If you are not satisfied, we will replace it with a new law,” he said.

The deliberations were going on in the background of the recommendation of M P Bezbaruah committee which suggested amendment in sections 153 A and 153 B of the IPC as a long-term measure to deal with the issue of racial violence.

While the law officer was trying to make his submission on the recommendation of Bezbaruah committee, which set up by the Ministry of Home Ministry (MHA) on February 5, 2014 after several incidents of hate crimes against persons hailing from the Northeast, the bench expressed displeasure that effective steps were not being taken to address the issues.

“Nothing is on record to show what steps have been taken. We are not going to take what is there in the affidavit,” the bench said, adding “legislation is one part of the recommendations”.

The bench, which posted the matter for hearing on Friday, wanted to know from the Centre whether any steps have been taken to set up a nodal agency to monitor the complaints and related issues.

“A pro-active work has to be undertaken. What type of programme has to be there? Call your ‘babus’ and tell them. We have to pass an order. We can’t issue ominous type of directions,” the bench said stressing that there should be a nodal agency to address the issues of the Northeastern people.