Reflecting its concern over rising cases of violence at the pretext of cow vigilantism in the country, Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Central and State governments to take effective steps to stop miscreant groups from taking law in their hands.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra said, “We know laws are there, but what action has been taken? You can take planned action so that vigilantism does not grow.”

The apex court also asked each state government to appoint a senior police officer in each district as nodal officer to take action against cow vigilantism and crack down on anyone involved in such cases.

“This must stop. What action have you taken? It is not permissible. There has to be some kind of action,” a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Amitava Roy and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar said.

Representing Centre, Tushar Mehta told the apex court that appropriate law was there to take care of any kind of untoward incidents in such matter.

The development comes a month after the government had told the Supreme Court that it doesn’t support any type of vigilantism, anywhere. Responding to the apex courts’ directive, the Centre further added that no vigilante group has any place in the country as per the procedure of law.

States have to act as per law against these vigilantes, the Centre said.

The statements from the Centre came after the SC had sought its response on the rise of cow vigilantism incident from across the nation. The Supreme Court has also asked Centre, its stand that ‘How will it end the menace of cow vigilantism’.

The Centre was pulled up by the SC after a petitioner alleged that the vigilante groups had created menace for the minorities and Dalits. The petitioner had accused the Centre’s inability to put a leash on these groups.

In past few months, several cases on the name of ‘cow vigilantism’ were reported which left the nation divided.

Condemning the actions of vigilantes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the Monsoon Session of the Parliament said, “Killing people in the name of cow is unacceptable. No one has the right to take law into his/her hands. We belong to a land of non-violence. Violence is not the solution to any problem.”

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