The Bill for eradication of witchcraft and unfair practices will not come up for discussion in the Legislative Session at Nagpur next month because validity of the draft bill which was passed in the Assembly in December 2005 but stayed in the Upper House has now expired.
The Bill was given three extensions because of stiff opposition from all-party leaders, especially the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The idea of having such a bill was first mooted in 1990 when Executive president of state anti-superstition committee, Dr Narendra Dabholkar, had petitioned then chief minister Sharad Pawar.
Parliamentary affairs minister Harshvardhan Patil said, “The Cabinet will have to approve the draft once again.”
Earlier, legislatures had contested certain provisions in the Bill.
Many argued palmistry and astrology had a scientific base and hence should be deleted. Though they seconded eradication of witchcraft and related tricks but opposed the idea of stalling religious rituals such as animal sacrifice arguing that it would evoke public ire.
Their motive was clear — nobody wanted to invite wrath from leaders from all sects and religions.