Violence runs through as an undercurrent in Indian Society. Incidents of public lynching, mob violence and “people’s justice” including Agra Riots, violence of Dohna, and inhumane torture of a petty offender in Bhagalpur have rocked the nation in the recent past. Is mob violence a result of the state’s failure to provide outlets for legitimate grievances or have the masses found a swift and effective way of venting out their fury on any and everything they see fit?
Keeping in view this pressing issues of the socio- legal scenario in the country, Amity Law School- Delhi, affiliated to Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, organized a debate on “Mob Violence and the Breakdown of Article 21: the Right to Life and Liberty” in which students from six major Law colleges across India including National Law Institute University, Bhopal; Indian Law School, Pune; Hidayatullah National Law University, Bhopal; University School of Law and Legal Studies; Nalsar College, Hyderabad; Amity Law School, Noida and Amity Law School , Delhi locked horns with each other.
The debate was held on Cambridge Debate Format, wherein aspiring lawyers from the same team expressed their opinions for and against the topic and were later subjected to rebuttals, adjudicated by a panel of eminent judges including Ms. Nitya Ramakrishnan- Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Mr. Atanu Roy- Media Consultant and Justice NN Goswami (Retd.) -High Court of Delhi. Each team comprised of three students- one speaking for the motion, one against and one interjector.
Those speaking for the motion were of the view that India is a country known for its apostles of peace like Buddha and Gandhi. It is very dismissal to know that a peace loving and peace preaching country has become intolerant and has resorted to violence and vandalism to seek justice. To correct one wrong act another wrong act cannot be committed. Mob Violence is nothing but a flimsy excuse to justify one’s selfish ends. It encroaches upon the rights of the people and results in the breakdown of Article 21 of the constitution of India which states that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
Students who supported mob violence to seek justice opined that the entire system is rotten, crippled and shoddy. Legislative and Judiciary are ineffective, which has forced the people to resort to mob violence in order to get their grievances addressed and met out justice to wrongdoers on their own. The situation has deteriorated to such an extent that people are left with no choice but to take matters in their own hands. Citing the delay in the verdict of Bombay Blast Case (1993), it was concluded that justice delayed is justice denied. Criminals and mob both are victims of society.
Felicitating the winners, Justice NN Goswami (Retd.) -High Court of Delhi said that illiteracy is the main cause of mob violence as illiteracy leads to unemployment which further breads frustration. And it is the frustrated and restless lot which resort to violence and vandalism. Therefore, more and more awakening has to be created to educate the majority of the population.
Doling out tips to excel in debate, Mr. Atanu Roy- Media Consultant advised the students to do thorough and updated research of the topic and think tangent and out of the box to come out with flying colors in debate.
National Law School, Bhopal emerged as the Best Team and was awarded with a cash prize of Rs. 8,000. University School of Law and Legal Studies, I.P University and Indian Law School, Pune were declared First Runners Up with a cash prize of Rs. 4,000 and Second Runners Up with a cash prize of Rs.2, 000 respectively. The award for Best Speaker went to Ms. Suchi Swami from University School of Law and Legal Studies, I.P University Ms. Suhini Mahapatra from ILS, Pune won the Best Interjector’s Award an