October 2, 2022

The law is the mightiest sovereign in a civilized society – Supreme Court

The court expressed its views on the purpose and goal of the law, while delivering a judgement on the writ petition seeking justice for the victim of mob lynching cases.

Purpose of law

“Law, enacted for the benefit of the society by conferring rights on the citizens and to regulate social behaviour in many a sphere, is required to be implemented by the law enforcing agencies and the citizens are duty bound to follow the law treating it as sacred. Law has to be regarded as the foundation of a civilized society.

Primary Goal of law

The primary goal of law is to have an orderly society where the citizenry dreams for change and progress is of his/her potential. In such an atmosphere while every citizen is entitled to enjoy the rights and interest bestowed under the constitutional and statutory law, he is also obligated to remain obeisant to the command of law.

Law is supreme to any group

It has been stated in Krishnamoorthy v. Sivakumar and others (2015)[1], the law, the mightiest sovereign in a civilized society. The majesty of law cannot be sullied simply because an individual or a group generate the attitude that they have been empowered by the principles set out in law to take its enforcement into their own hands and gradually become law unto themselves and punish the violator on their own assumption and in the manner in which they deem fit.

They forget that the administration of law is conferred on the law enforcing agencies and no one is allowed to take law into his own hands on the fancy of his shallow spirit of judgment. Just as one is entitled to fight for his rights in law, the other is entitled to be treated as innocent till he is found guilty after a fair trial. No act of a citizen is to be adjudged by any kind of community under the guise of protectors of law. It is the seminal requirement of law that an accused is booked under law and is dealt with in accordance with the procedure without any obstruction so that substantive justice is done.

No individual in his own capacity or as a part of a group, which within no time assumes the character of a mob, can take law into his/their hands and deal with a person treating him as guilty. That is not only contrary to the paradigm of established legal principles in our legal system but also inconceivable in a civilized society that respects the fundamental tenets of the rule of law. And, needless to say, such ideas and conceptions not only create a dent in the majesty of law but are also absolutely obnoxious.

Is the duty of this Court under the constitutional framework to deal with the primary grievance that pertains to cow vigilantism and other incidents of lynching or, if we may say so, targeted violence and commission of offences affecting the human body and against private and public property by mobs under the garb of self-assumed and self-appointed protectors of law.”

Reference

Tehseen S. Poonawalla vs Union Of India, (2018)


[1] 1 (2015) 3 SCC 467