SC to hear plea alleging attacks on Christian institutions, priests

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear on “re-opening day itself” a plea alleging a rising number of attacks on Christian institutions and priests across the country and seeking the implementation of earlier apex court guidelines to curb hate crimes.

On an average, 45 to 50 violent attacks take place against Christian institutions and priests every month throughout the country, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves said. In May this year itself, 57 cases of violence and attacks on Christian institutions and priests took place, he added.

What you are saying is unfortunate, if it is happening. What we can ensure is that your matter is listed on the re-opening day itself,” a vacation bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala said when Gonsalves mentioned the plea and sought its listing for urgent hearing.

The relief sought included the implementation of the guidelines issued in the Tehseen Poonawala judgement in which nodal officers were to be appointed to take note of hate crimes and register FIRs across the nation.

The bench directed the apex court registry to list the petition on re-opening of the courts after summer vacation on July 11.

In 2018, the apex court had come out with a slew of guidelines for the Centre and states. These included fast-tracked trials, victim compensation, deterrent punishment and disciplinary action against lax law-enforcing officials. The court said offences such as hate crimes, cow vigilantism and lynching incidents should be nipped in the bud.

The states shall designate a senior police officer not below the rank of police superintendent as nodal officer in each district, it had said, adding that these officers will set up a task force to be assisted by one DSP-rank officer for taking measures to prevent mob violence and lynching.

The state governments shall immediately identify districts, sub-divisions and villages where instances of lynching and mob violence have been reported in the recent past, the court had said.