Interestingly, the BJP,which was then in the opposition, had expressed strong reservations about the bill, piloted by the Siddaramaiah led Congress government and passed by the state legislature in November 16 2017.
Over two years after it was passed by the Karnataka legislature, the B S Yediyurappa-led BJP government has finally notified the much-hyped anti-superstition law that aims to prevent and eradicate “inhuman evil practices”. Interestingly, the BJP,which was then in the opposition, had expressed strong reservations about the bill, piloted by the Siddaramaiah led Congress government and passed by the state legislature in November 16 2017.
The Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Act RPT Act, 2017, that intends to protect the common people against “evil” and “sinister” practices, shall come into force with effect from January 4 2020, the government notification issued earlier this month said.
The Act seeks to combat and eradicate other such inhuman practices propagated and performed in the name of “black magic” by conmen with the sinister motive of exploiting the common people,thereby destroying the social fabric in society. Further, it aims to bring social awakening and awareness in the society and create healthy and safe social environment.
Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah congratulated BJP for enforcing the Act by rectifying its mistake of “condemning, hounding and maligning” his government when they tried to implement the Act with an intention to stop it . He also hoped that things which are beliefs now “don’t turn into superstition under pressure,” Considered similar to the one in Maharashtra, the Act has ‘savings’ and ‘schedule’ categories, which classify practices that could be tolerated and those that need to be controlled or prohibited.
The notification said nothing in the act shall apply with respect to the forms of worship mentioned under the heading ‘savings’ These include practices like ‘pradakshina’, yatras, ‘parikramas’ performed at religious places, among other normal practices. It also includes the advice with regard to ‘Vastushastra’, advice by ‘jyothishya’ and other astrologers Practices included under the ‘schedule’ for prohibition are — performing any inhuman, evil act and black magic in search of precious things, bounty and hidden treasures Other practices listed under 16 points for prohibition are facilitating any person to roll over leaves of leftover food by other people in public or religious places or similar practices that violate human dignity; subjecting women to inhuman and humiliating practices like parading them naked in the name of worship or otherwise, such as “betthale seve”.
Also, forcing any person to carry out evil practices such as killing of an animal by biting its neck and coercing any person or persons to perform ‘fire walk’ at the time of ‘jatras’ (temple/village fest) and religious festivals have also been included, it added.
During the passage of the bill, certain amendments sought were made part of the bill, and a practice like Mudradharane by Madhwa Brahmins was exempted. As per this practice, ‘Mudras’ (dyes) usually made of gold or copper are heated on coal fire and stamped on the body. ‘Vashikarana’, practiced in occult science as an act of subjugation or advertising about it in the name of treatment has been banned under the act, following the suggestions made by the members during the debate in the assembly.
The legislation was earlier proposed as The Evil, Inhuman and Superstitious Practices Prevention Bill. After omitting the word superstitious, it was titled ‘The Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017.’
Superstitious practices, including black magic, are punishable under the Act for up to seven years and a maximum fine of Rs 50,000 can be imposed. The act also aims to bring social awakening and awareness in society and create a healthy and safe social environment, and also calls for appointment of vigilance officers to oversee the implementation of the law.