Witchcraft in India - Shankar vs State
The success story of The Rajasthan Prevention of Witch Hunting act 2015 revolves around the case of State of Rajasthan vs. Shankar. By judgement dated 3/3/2010, the secretary government of Rajasthan Tribal area development department was directed to submit a detailed report regarding schemes available for promotion of tribes and their implementation. It was not submitted in the directed four weeks. A report was filed, after the prescribed time, which stated various schemes regarding their upliftment and the prime question involved effective and adequate implementation of schemes. The agendas for the upliftment of tribal people were not visible in the submitted reports and hence the applicants Ashta Sansthan, Adivasi Vikas Manch, Mazdoor Kishan Sansthan and Jangal Jameen Jan Andolan were allowed to intervene this matter.
The observations which were made by the Hon'ble division bench in this judgement dated 3/3/10 was that the superstitions and ill-traditions prevail in our society. Illiteracy and backwardness are high in ratio. Superstitious behaviour are there and are existing in this present case. It is on the part of the governance is to eradicate all these ills. Dailts, aboriginals and other tribes are yet not getting the desired benefit of these schemes and therefore the Real change is yet not allowed. The Hon'ble division bench, on 23/07/14, specifically pointed out the ill traditions of Dakan, Mautana, Bair existing in the society. Looking further into the matter, the Zila parishad Udaipur, Zila parishad Dungarpur, Zila parishad Banswara, Zila parishad pratapgarh and Zila parishad Sirohi were made a party to the proceedings.
In the order dated 24/9/14 it was stated that the State government completely misconstrued the object of notices issued. The state government did not disclose as to what steps were taken in respect of Mautana. The Hon;ble court stated that Development may have been made educate the tribals who have been left out from the mainstream but that is not sufficient to eradicate the prevailing evil practices.
The state must take steps for abolishing these evil practices. therefore, the Hon'ble court advised the state government to make law on the subject and to provide for punishments for encouraging and abetting such crimes.
punishments for encouraging and abetting such crimes. The Rajasthan women (Prevention and protection from atrocities) bill 2011 was presented but on 11/12/14, the ordinance was allowed to lapse by the Ministry of Home Affairs as the reasons that were given for the same were;
- CrPC was extensively amended as Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013 was passed,
- There was absence of urgency to introduce the ordinance,
- The government of Rajasthan did not replied to the present status of the ordinance and its desirebality. And hence the bill is not required.
A very important decision take by the Hon'ble court in this matter and this judgement stating that "The evil practice of declaring the woman a witch and killing her is an offense which cannot be tolerated. If effective progress in these matters is not reported, we may consider to declare the state of Rajasthan not only slow in taking such measures but also backward and ineffective in bringing out appropriate legislation and taking steps on atrocities committed on women" made the difference. Finally, after a long-fought battle, The Rajasthan Prevention of Witch Hunting bill, 2015 was passed.