Before the end of his tenure, President Pranab Mukherjee cleared four Bills in the Parliament today. These bills, relating to the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Puducherry, had been pending for a long time now. The Maharashtra’s Protection of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016, which states that social boycott is a crime and stern action should be taken against those indulging in it, was passed in the month of April last year. Officials said that the bill had been pending since then.
Earlier last year, the Maharashtra State Assembly passed this law with an attempt to prevent the practice of social boycott followed so religiously by different communities. This law also states that no panchayat or group of individuals are allowed to boycott another individual or group. Those involved in the practice of social boycotting or instigating others to do so will be penalised heavily under this law. The penalty could be either imprisonment lasting up to 7 years and fine of Rs 5 lakh or both. Law states that either the victim or any member of the victim’s family can register a complaint of social boycotting.
Another Bill cleared by President Pranab Mukherjee is the Gujarat’s Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution)(Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2017. It was passed by the Rupani government earlier this year in the month of February. This Bill is aimed to prohibit the existence of hookah bars in the state. The penalty levied upon breaking this law would be imprisonment lasting up to 3 years.
The third Bill approved by Mukherjee is the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act, 1999, which was cleared by the Karnataka state government in April last year. This Act provides for reservation for SC/STs in public work contracts. Reservation will be given to contractors from the SC/ST communities in both government and local self-government run institutions.
The last Bill Mukherjee gave his consent to is the Puducherry’s Civil Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The law states that this Bill is aimed at granting monetary control to the new subordinate judge court established at Karaikal.