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Maha Assembly passes Social Boycott Bill

The Maharashtra Assembly on Wednesday unanimously approved the Prohibition of Social Boycott Bill, which seeks to crack down on extra-judicial bodies like caste and community panchayats, and prescribes a maximum punishment of 3 years in jail.

The “Bill to provide for prohibition of social boycott of a person or group of persons including their family members and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto” was passed on the last day of the Budget session on Wednesday. It is yet to be passed by the Legislative Council.

“There was a demand that the existing laws were inadequate to deal with social boycott cases and a new legislation was needed,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said during the debate on the bill.

“In this bill, we have treated indulging in social boycott a crime,” the Chief Minister said, adding that he was happy that it got the support of all the members.

The cabinet had on March 1 approved the draft bill.

The legislation provides for the prohibition of social boycott of a person or group of persons including their family members by an individual or a group like caste (‘jaat’) panchayat. 

Maharashtra is the first state in the country to introduce a bill against social boycott.

As per the bill, the offence of imposing social boycott will attract maximum punishment of 3 years in prison or a fine up to Rs 1 lakh or both. The abetment of the offence also attracts the same punishment and fine.
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