After a long and gruelling campaign by ANS for the past eight years to enact a Law against Superstition which harm the citizens, the Maharashtra State Government under the leadership of the then new Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has passed in their Cabinet meeting such a law and sent it to the Central Government for their approval.
As human civilisation grew, more acceptable rules and regulations became necessary. These rules or laws, which regulated life of human societies, need to be modified when ever necessary from time to time.
In our part of the world, a large segment of the present society requires appropriate laws to protect them from such members who use misinformation and misguidance to cheat and harm them.
To be more precise, superstitions exist in a very large extent in the majority of uneducated as well as educated strata of society. It is also a fact that their exist large number of people whose main means of livelihood is to exploit these superstitious beliefs and fill their own coffers.
If societies have to be more civilised, this situation has to change. Hence it is imperative to enact a law that protect the people from such unscrupulous members of society.
Need for the Law
Questions are always posed as to whether society changes simply by enactment of rules and laws? The ineffectiveness of laws for prohibition of dowry and prohibition of alcohol consumption are cited to prove that society dose not change. But this is not the full truth.
Even if we accept, that enactments of laws alone, does not compel the society to change, historical evidence in the cases of prohibition of practice of Sati, and other such uncivilised practices, proves that enactment of laws has helped society to give up such evil, uncivilised practices.
Moreover, if there is an active social agitation going on in the society, against some undesirable belief systems and if a large section of society is actively participating in eradicating harmful superstitious beliefs, and then the enactment of such a law will certainly accelerate this process. Moreover, people, social reformers and well-wishers desire that in the interest of the community, their representatives should ratify such an act as early as possible.
The novelty of this draft law is that it does not get entrapped in the argument of defining faith and blind faith. Hence at this point of time, what is to be considered as blind faith is given in a separate schedule. This list can be periodically updated.
Hence the impediment for the enactment of this law has been overcome. The list is quite really exhaustive and includes most common superstitions prevailing in Maharashtra.
The list includes
To perform Karni, Bhanamati,
To perform magical rites in the name of supernatural power,
To offer ash, talisman, charms etc. for the purpose of exorcism and to drive out evil spirits or ghosts,
To claim possession of supernatural powers and to advertise this claim,
To defame, disgrace the names of erstwhile Saints/ Gods, by claiming to be there reincarnation and thus cheating the gullible and God-fearing simple folks.
To claim to be possessed by divine power or evil power and then perform miracles in the name of such powers.
To punish and to beat mentally ill patients in the belief that they are possessed by evil spirits.
To perform Aghori rites.
To perform so called black magic and spread fear in society.
To perform "Gopal Santan Vidhi" to beget a male offspring.
To oppose scientific medical treatment and to coerce to adopt Aghori treatment.
To sell or deal in so-called magic stones, talisman, bracelets, charms.
To become possessed by supernatural powers and then pretend to give answers to any questions in this mental state.
To sacrifice innocent animals for the appeasement of gods or spirits.
To dispense magical remedies for curing rabies and snake bites.
To dispense medical remedies with claims of assured fertility.