Maharashtra becomes first state to enact law against social boycott

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Maharashtra has became the first state to enact laws against  against social boycott of individuals or families by caste panchayats. The govt has published the draft of the said act dubbed as 'Maharashtra Prohibition of Social Boycott Act, 2015’ on  the state government’s website. This won’t be the first time that the state is taking a lead in formulating such acts. Maharashtra was also the first in the country to enact anti superstition law.

Key facts of the act :-

  • Maharashtra in recent times has witnessed an increased number of incidents of social boycott and violence at the orders of seniors in the caste panchayats, for not adhering to their rules.
  • The act has recommended seven years of imprisonment or fine of Rs. 5 lakh or both if the accused is proven guilty. As per the act, the trial shall be completed within a period of six months from the date of filing of the charge sheet. 
  • Any offence punishable under this Act shall be cognizable and bailable and triable by a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the First Class, as the case may be.
  • It has also made the provision of ‘Social Boycott Prohibition Officer’ to detect the commission of offences under the provisions of this Act. The officer will also assist magistrate and police officers to discharge their duties.

​Defination of "Caste Panchayat" as per the act :-

The act defines “Caste Panchayat” as a Committee or a body formed by a group of persons belonging to any community, whether registered or not, which functions within the community to regulate various practices in the same community, controls personal and social behaviour of any member and collectively resolves or decides any disputes amongst their members including their families, by issuing oral or written dictums.

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