In this article, Raghav Ajmera discusses the laws relating to social boycott in India.
India from many years has been facing a lot of problems lately. Problems like child labor, social boycott, honor killing, discrimination on the basis of caste, race, sex. These problems would always be a curse to our country until certain specific laws are not made regarding the problem and a strict action against the people starting the problem. People from the ancient times believed in the concept of upper class and lower class. At times these were so heavily practiced that the people categorized as ‘untouchables’ were not allowed to enter into the temple, fetch water from the well. India has been famous for its rich culture and heritage. Today we imagine India as a modern country with modern minds, but it is not. From above it just seems like a modern country but when we peep into the reality, it shows us a different face, a face where people have faced problems like discrimination, social boycott, honor killing, etc.
Social boycott refers to an act of continuously ignoring or avoiding a person by other members of the society. The social boycott is a collective refusal by society to involve a person in the commercial and social relations. The main objective to do social boycott is that the individual gets so uncomfortable that he/she voluntarily leaves the society.
Ostracism is an identical practice, but it is eviler. Ostracism refers to a forcible expulsion of a person from society for any reason. It is often accompanied by the confiscation of his/her property.
Provisions of the Social Boycott Prevention Act
As per the act, on the off chance that any individual or group tries to prevent or block another individual or group from observing or watching any social or religious custom or use or service, or from part taking in a social, religious or community function, get together, assembly, meeting or parade, the act adds up to social boycott.
The challenging of freedom of people for the sake of jati panchayats, religion, traditions or denying them their preferred privilege adds up to social boycott too.
Freedom in the above circumstances includes the freedom to wed outside one’s caste, visit places of worship, wear clothes of one’s decision and utilization of a particular language. Discrimination on the basis of moral quality, political inclination or sexuality also adds up to the act of social boycott. As does prevent kids from playing in a specific space, or denying access to the cemetery, educational institution or educational institutions with mala fide expectations.
Report to Collector or District Magistrate when you see instances of social boycott
A Collector or District Magistrate/Deputy Commissioner, on getting data of the probability of unlawful assembly for the imposition of social boycott can, by order, deny the assembly.
Why it is necessary to take an action against Social Boycott?
- In India, since historical times, a legacy of caste system has been framed which is carried forward to this date. Its appearance can be seen this day itself.
- The carrying out of jati panchayats of Davis in Maharashtra and the notorious khap panchayats of Haryana are cases of the firm enactment of the caste system.
- These groups, after getting together, convey additional legal judgments, which are brutal in nature yet in addition conflict with the respect of the individual and are on occasion, savage and unforgiving.
- For instance, the naked parading of ladies in the whole town after applying black paint all over, ostracizing specific people since they did acts which were against the supposed built up to standards of the assembly, whipping and lashing of people and sometimes, the wedding of the rape casualty to the culprit etc.
- These additional judicial proclamations are still carried out in rural areas of India where caste system and caste hierarchy is very strongly observed.
Impact of the Act
With the introduction of this act, it has made a huge difference in the lives of people or communities suffering from these kinds of problems. The main achievement of this act is:
- With the dynamic inclusion of the administration and the acquiring of such an act against the evil of social boycott, it would be possible for the individuals of the community to practice their Constitutional Rights more freely and with lawful support now. For instance, individuals would now be able to wed outside their caste, accessibility of public places and wells and temples cannot be denied.
- Indeed, the administration has gone above and beyond by specifying sexual orientation as one’s personal choice and boycott on those lines will likewise draw in penal provisions under the previously mentioned act.
Like the coin has two sides heads and tails, everything in life has two sides and we usually describe them as positive or negative or advantage or disadvantage of the choices or problems in life. The reasons why it has disadvantages or challenges ahead is because:
- In spite of a legitimate backing, there are fears of a comeback among different groups living in the country.
- For instance, Orthodox elderly individuals of the villages or towns who firmly watch the so-called ‘caste system’ and its set up traditions may oppose the strengthening of the so-called ‘lower castes’ of the towns or villages and this may rise in the wave of honor killings. Additionally, this can lead to increased social turmoil among the rural regions.
- National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) information made available in 2014 says that there has been a sharp increment of up to 20% in the number of violations carried out against the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the past three years.
- The rising awareness of their (SCs and STs) rights and the legal means that are accessible to get their rights implemented and plan to make use of government instruments to secure their interests is one major purpose behind the rising violations which is a sensible end product of the principal point.
What amounts to social boycott
In pursuance of clause (3) of article 348 of the Constitution of India, there is translation in English of the Maharashtra Protection of People form Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2016 (Mah. Act No. XLIV of 2017), is hereby published under the authority of the Governor. Section 3 defines the laws related to social boycott in India. Maharashtra, became the first state in India to bring a Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2016 making social boycott a crime after it received the Presidential Assent on 13th July 2017. The movement, initiated by late Narendra Dabholkar, gained momentum after he was shot dead.
How to the complaint against social boycott
The complaint has to be made under the Maharashtra Prohibition of Social Boycott Act.
- Conviction of the offense of social boycott will pull in a jail term of up to three years and/or a fine up to rupees 1 lakh. Abetment by an individual or group will welcome the same punishment as well.
- It is a cognizable offense and bailable and will be attempted by a Judicial Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the First Class. To guarantee quick justice under the Act, the trial would need to be finished inside a time of six months from the date of recording or filing the charge sheet.
The law enacted in Maharashtra was the first ever law made on social boycott in India. Until now no law has been made in regard to this problem. Law states the provisions for the people who are avoided and ignored socially. The government of Maharashtra has made a step in the correct way. With lawful support for the prevention of social boycott exercises, there will be an increase in people who would now be able to practice their rights in a vastly improved way and will likewise have a chance to lead their life better. Additionally, with these rights as of now being specified in the Constitution, it will prompt better use of Fundamental Rights by different people. The Act is a decent case of strengthening of the general population. Implementation, in any case, remains the key to this Act like each Indian Act.