This new social boycott law in Maharashtra forbids social boycott of any person, individual, class or community in the name of caste, community, religion, rituals, habits, customs, etc.

What constitutes a social boycott under the new law?

If an individual, group, the community tries to obstruct or prevent any other individual or community from:-

  1. Performing any social and religious custom like marriage, funerals, worship, etc.
  2. Access to social, economic, religious and political ties.
  3. Acess to an educational institution, hospitals, religious place, place of worship, community halls, playgrounds, etc.
  4. Practising any particular profession of their choice

Following will also amount to social boycott
1. Any form of social ostracism of any kind.
2.Challenging the freedom guaranteed as per law. Freedom here also includes freedom to wear the dress of choice, marrying outside one’s own caste, use any specific language, etc.

Moreover, discrimination on the basis of morality, political inclination, sexuality, sexual orientation will also qualify as social boycott under the new law.

Remedy under the new Social Boycott Law

A collector or District Magistrate can prohibit the assembly for the imposition of social boycott. Moreover, the penalty for the offence of social boycott will be jail up to three years or a fine up to Rs.1 lakh or both.

The offence under the law will be cognizable and bailable and will be tried by a Metropolitan Magistrate or a First Class Judicial Magistrate.

Analysis

The Social Boycott law is the need of the hour not only in Maharashtra but in the whole of India.The boycott imposed by Jati Panchayats, Khap Panchayats, Gavkis, etc(by taking extra judicial power in their hand) are highly irrelevant in today’s democratic society.

Freedom and liberty as guaranteed in the Constitution can be guaranteed by this law. The recent cases in Maharashtra like the honour killing of Pramila Khumbharkar, staining of Narendra Dabholkar, social boycott of Rahul Yelange(who was a part of the team from Pune that conquered Mt.Everest, but had to face social boycott in his native village Budruk because his wife wore jeans. These kinds of social stigma need to be removed and tackled with firm action so that everyone can enjoy his/her rights guaranteed by the Constitution and as per law.

It is not a proud moment for a country when special legislation is required to prohibit social discrimination, ostracism and practices repugnant to human dignity. Yet, given the prevailing circumstances, any legislative assault on abhorrent social practices ought to be welcomed.

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