Palghar Lynching: Supreme Court Refuses to Stay the On-going Investigation by the CID

On April 16, two saints travelling from Mumbai to Surat lynched at Palghar by a mob of 200 people. As a result, both the sadhus died. Advocate Shankar Shekhar Jha filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking Court-Monitored Investigation. Alternatively, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) can also investigate into the matter. A Bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna heard the petition. The petitioner alleged that the police was complicit in the Palghar lynching of the two saints.

He cited media reports to suggest a breakdown of law and order. The reports show the failure of the administration and the police during the lockdown. This is because the police did not use any power available to them to stop the lynching. Moreover, such a huge crowd had assembled despite the COVID-19 lockdown in place. The standing counsel for Maharashtra apprised that the Central Investigation Department (CID) is investigating the case. This department comes directly under the Additional Director General (ADG) of Maharashtra itself.

However, the Court refused to stay the ongoing investigation by the Maharashtra Government. It sought a status report from the state government regarding its probe into the Palghar lynching. Further, the Court asked the petitioner to serve a copy of the petition to the State of Maharashtra. The Apex Court has listed the matter for further hearing after 4 weeks. Interestingly, the Bombay High Court is also hearing a similar petition. This petition also seeks a CBI/SIT investigation. The High Court issued notices in the case.