Law, Morality, and Society: The Legal Stance of Vigilantism and Moral Policing in the Context of India

  • Tazeen Ahmed and Shabbir Ahmed
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  • Tazeen Ahmed

    Student at Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia, India.

  • Shabbir Ahmed

    Student at Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia, India.

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"Moral policing" refers to arbitrary patrolling by police and vigilante groups or politically driven non-state actors who designate themselves as watchdogs of culture, religion, caste, ethnicity, and gender roles against foreign influences that allegedly corrupt the sanctity of traditional Indian society. Vigilantism aims at enforcing dictates of majoritarian moral codes accepted by society at large by violent means. Vigilantism and moral policing are deeply prevalent in contemporary Indian society and are continuously escalating, making it a serious cause of concern as they pose a threat to the principles of ‘rule of law’ and democracy, which are implicit in the Constitution of India. They also amount to and account for grave violations of human rights in India, in the form of mob lynching, honor killings, etc. This paper seeks to research the facets of moral policing while establishing a disconnection between law and morality in matters where constitutional morality reigns supreme. The paper also divulges the provisions that are misused by the police to bully people and give power to these vigilante outfits to operate in society. Further, it also seeks to throw light on various statutes, Supreme Court Guidelines, Judicial Pronouncements and International Laws which can be applied to remedy, prosecute and curb acts of violence in the name of moral policing, and safeguard human rights. Finally, the paper seeks to lay down suggestions and recommendations for reform of the current menace of moral policing. The research methodology used in the paper is analytical, descriptive and critical.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 2, Page 1968 - 1985


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