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Gujarat, 3 other States did not appoint nodal officers for prevention of mob violence and lynching: Centre tells SC

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New Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS) The Centre on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that four states, namely, Gujarat, Kerala, Nagaland and Tamil Nadu, have not appointed nodal officers in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the apex court to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) KM Natraj, appearing for the Union Government, told a Bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti that the above-mentioned four states did not respond to the letter addressed by the Union Home Ministry.

“We are not clear as to whether these states have appointed nodal officers or not. However, they have not responded to our letter,” said ASG Natraj.

At this, the Bench said, “We will issue notices to the standing counsels of these states and ask them to submit a report as to whether nodal officers have been appointed.”

Further, ASG Natraj informed the top court that the Union Home Secretary had convened a meeting of the Heads of Departments of all the state governments on October 11 pursuant to the apex court’s order.

The top court said that this matter will be taken up for further hearing in the month of February, next year.

In an earlier hearing, Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing on the petitioner’s behalf, had submitted that he was “surprised” to find that websites of various state governments did not have details relating to nodal officers.

Gonsalves had sought directions to the state governments to upload all data on their website to make it accessible to the general public.

Hearing this, the top court had ordered the Home Ministry to file a status regarding appointment of the report nodal officers after ascertaining information from the state governments concerned.

In its 2018 judgment in the Tehseen S Poonawalla case, the Supreme Court had directed designation of nodal officer in each district for taking measures to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching.

“The Director General of Police/the Secretary, Home Department of the states concerned shall take regular review meetings (at least once a quarter) with all the Nodal Officers and State Police Intelligence heads,” it had ordered.

--IANS

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