March 13th, 2016
Image Source: Janta Ka Reporter
The incumbent Chief Minister of Maharashtra though he did not get an absolute majority in the historic victory for BJP in Maharashtra, has certainly in a few ways earned a lot of plaudits for not giving into populist and rabble rousing opinions. He has certainly breathed some fresh air into Maharashtra politics by speaking out at the right time when opposition parties tried to vitiate the atmosphere by jingoism.
Anti – Social Boycott Bill
What is the social boycott scenario in Maharashtra?
The practice of social boycott of a person or group of persons, and their family members, still continues in various parts of the state. The social boycott is practised at the behest of a ‘Caste Panchayat’ at the community level that regulates its various practices, the personal and social behaviour of the members and resolves disputes by issuing written or oral dictum. There have been instances where village communities have enforced dress codes barring women from wearing jeans, or have banned people from places of worship.
What does the bill intend to do?
Chief Minister Mr Fadnavis had said “The bill aims to root out evil, outdated and unconstitutional practices of Caste Panchayats, Gavki, Community Panchayats, etc,”
The bill has said “If any individual or group in an organised manner commits acts like denying members of his community access to places of worship, interferes in inter-caste marriages or compels him/her on dress code, footwear shall be deemed to have imposed social boycott,” .Prohibiting people from visiting burial grounds or other institutions used by a community would also be considered a serious offence.
Time bound verdict
The Bill provides the victims to file a complaint before the magistrate and the verdict should be out within six months
1.) The punishment for such acts will be categorised as per the nature of the crime and can include a prison sentence up to seven years and fine up to Rs 5 lakh
2.) Preventing individuals/groups from interacting in society or making attempts to socially isolate them would invite strict punishment as it would be an act of crime.
The Logical Indian community applauds the Maharashtra government for taking this bold and necessary step that could go a long way in abolishing social boycott and anti-constitutional practices. We request other state governments where such a law is not present to take it up and implement it effectively.