‘Anti-superstition Bill not taken up for discussion in winter session’

The Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill was not taken up for discussion in the the recent winter session of the state Assembly, said Dr Narendra Dabholkar, founder of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti on Monday.

"Even after an assurance by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, the Bill is still pending and was not cleared in the recent winter session. We would request the Chief Minister to take up the issue ahead of the 2014 elections,''said Dabholkar expressing his disappointment over the delay in passing the bill.

Earlier, social justice minister Shivajirao Moghe had also said that the state government will push for the passage of the much-awaited Bill . "It has not happened. We want the state government to take up the issue in all seriousness,'' added Dabholkar.

The bill, referred to as Maharashtra Eradication of Black Magic, Evil and Aghori Practices Bill, was first introduced in the legislature in 1995 and has been redrafted several times, but has still to become a law. Fearing curbs on certain religious practices, a section of elected representatives have been opposing the Bill. Provisions in the Bill mainly deal with measures to check incidents of human sacrifices, black magic, and similar unfair practices. Even as there was some opposition, social justice minister Moghe had said that the government has already held discussions with the opposing religious groups to clarify the point. The minister had said that the government was even prepared to reconsider certain contentious points if the opposition prevails.

"The proposed legislation was tabled during the monsoon session of the Assembly but it did not come up for discussions. The minister had said he would introduce and get the Bill approved during the winter session, which began on December 12. However, the session did not incorporate the bill this time too," said Dabholkar.

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