Q. The state of Maharashtra has passed the Prohibition of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill. Bring out the salient features of this bill.
The bill provides for prohibition of social boycott of a person or group of persons, including their family members, by an individual or a group like caste panchayat.
It states that social boycott is prohibited and its commission shall be an offence, the maximum punishment for which will be seven years in prison or fine up to Rs.5 lakh or both.
It also states that maximum punishment for extending aid in relation to the commission of offence will be three years or Rs.3 lakh or both.According to the bill, the victim or any member of the victim’s family can file a complaint either through the police or directly to the magistrate.
To ensure speedy justice, the trial shall be completed within a period of six months from the date of filing of the chargesheet.
Social Boycott Prohibition Officers will be appointed to detect the commission of offences, to assist the magistrate and police officers in discharge of their duties under the Act. The burden of proving that no offence under this Act have been committed, shall lie on the accused.
If the accused is convicted, the court shall hear the victim on the quantum of sentence and only then pass the sentence, the Bill states. The sentence is compoundable.