The Bombay high court wants to end the social evil of boycotting community members for marrying outside the community through mediation.
Members of three such communities — Bhoi (fishermen) from Ratnagiri district, Kunbi (farmers) from Harihareshwar and Gaud Saraswat Brahmins from Pune — who face this problem recently approached the high court by filing separate petitions.
According to their petitions, their respective communities have socially boycotted them for marrying outside their caste and ordered community members not to allow them to participate in any social event or public religious festivities.
The court was acting on the petition filed by members of the Bhoi Samaj Vikas Sanghatana, who are currently being boycotted by their community Panchayat.
A division bench of justice SA Bobde and justice RD Dhanuka on Wednesday directed public prosecutor Pandurang Pol to suggest the names of people with a thorough knowledge of the customs of these communities to act as mediators.
“We don’t want ignorant people to handle the issue,” the judges told Pol.
The petitioners have sought intervention by the state machinery to end their social boycott stating that their social ostracism was destroying the social and communal fabric of the entire community, which according to them, was contrary to the provisions of the Constitution of India.
“The petitioners are going through a very inhuman process of restrictions on their personal liberty,” states the petition filed by four members of Kunbi community.
“The social boycott is a great blow to their reputation and has damaged their social image as well as their status. It has resulted in causing economic deprivation and hardship to the petitioners,” the petition adds.
The court has now posted all the three petitions for further hearing after two weeks when one or more mediators are likely to be appointed for redressing the petitioners’ grievances.