In the light of lynchings allegedly related to cow vigilantism in the recent months, the Supreme Court has said that the states were obliged to ensure that such incidents don't take place.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Deepak Mishra, made the remarks while reserving its verdict on the issue. Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud are also part of the bench.
NDTV quoted the court as saying, "Nobody can take law into their own hands. It is the obligation of the states to see these incidents are prevented."
The court also observed that such incidents were actually mob violence, which is a crime. It also said that the victims of such violence should not be linked to religion or caste.
The bench, according to The Indian Express, said, "Who will stop them? Some mechanism has to be there to prevent violence indulged in by these groups. This must stop. Some kind of planned and well-coordinated action is required by the governments so that vigilantism does not grow."
There are several petitions that have been presented before the Supreme Court over cow vigilantism and alleged lynchings in India.
The Indian Express reported that the court was hearing a petition filed by Tushar Gandhi and sought a response from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan. The contempt petition is said to have alleged that these states were not following the courts orders on the issue from last year.
In Septemer 2017, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre and the states to curb violence by cow vigilantes. It had asked the states to appoint of nodal officers in each district to ensure that "gau rakshaks" did not take matters into their own hands.
In June this year, two men were lynched by a mob in Uttar Pradesh's Hapur on rumours of cow slaughter.
In May, one person was killed and another was severely injured in Madhya Pradesh after they were attacked by a mob after they were suspected to have slaughtered a cow.