Social boycott now a crime in Maharashtra, a first for the country

Bhavika Jain | TNN | A


Representative image.Representative image.

MUMBAI: The state legislature unanimously passed the Maharashtra Prohibition of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016. Under this Act, anyone found guilty of imposing any social boycott on an individual or a group of individuals can be imprisoned up to three years and can be fined Rs1 lakh. The fine (in whole or part) will be given as compensation to the victim.

With this, Maharashtra becomes the first state in the country to bring out a law making social boycott a crime.

If the accused is convicted, the court shall hear the victim on the quantum of sentence and only then pass the sentence, the Bill states. The sentence is compoundable. While tabling the Bill, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis informed the legislative council that so far, 68 instances of social boycott have been reported in the state and 633 people from Raigad have been identified. “This Bill will help restrain such medieval practices,” he said.

The offence is cognizable and bailable as per the Bill.

A social boycott prohibition officer will also be appointed to prevent such incidents.In an exception, every rule framed for the implementation of this Act shall be approved by the legislature. As per the Bill, the victim or any member of the victim’s family may file a complaint either through the police or directly with a magistrate. To ensure speedy justice, the trial shall be completed within a period of six months from the date of filing of the chargesheet.

The enactment of the Bill will lead to the repealing of the Bombay Regulation II of 1827; the Caste Disabilities Removal Act, 1850; the Bombay Prevention of Ex-Communication Act, 1949.