After hanging fire for long, the Karnataka government's much-hyped Anti-superstition Bill, aimed at preventing and eradicating "inhuman evil practises", was introduced in the legislative assembly today.
The bill was tabled by Law Minister T B Jayachandra amid protests by the Opposition BJP, which demanded resignation of senior minister K J George, who has been booked by the CBI in connection with alleged suicide of a police official.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Ganapathy (51) allegedly committed suicide in a lodge at Madikeri on July 7, 2016. In a television interview before his death, he said George and two police officials would be responsible if anything happened to him.
Ignoring protests by BJP members in the well of the House, Speaker K B Koliwad directed the respective ministers to introduce four bills, including the Anti-superstition Bill.
The 'Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practises and Black Magic Bill, 2017' intends to protect common people against "evil" and "sinister" practises.
The bill seeks to combat and eradicate other such inhuman practises propagated and performed in the name of "black magic" by conmen with the sinister motive of exploiting the common people, thereby destroying the social fabric of the society.
It also aims to bring about social awakening and awareness in society and create a healthy and safe social environment.
The legislation was earlier proposed as 'The Evil, Inhuman and Superstitious Practises Prevention Bill'. The word 'superstitious' was later omitted.
Cleared by the government on September 27, the cabinet earlier discussed the bill under the title 'The Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and Other Inhuman Evil and Aghori Practises and Black Magic Bill'.
It had in July, 2016 referred the legislation to a cabinet sub-committee headed by Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa, citing that most ministers wanted the bill to be studied in detail before arriving at any decision.
Stating that there were provisions to make addition or deletion from the proposed bill, the law minister had said the proposed bill was similar to the one in Maharashtra.
But, he had said, that the Karnataka bill has "savings" and "schedule" categories, which classify practises that can be tolerated and those that need to be controlled or prohibited.
According to the bill, for removal of doubts, nothing in the Act shall apply with respect to forms of worship mentioned under the heading 'savings'. These include practises like 'pradakshina', 'yatras', 'parikramas' performed at religious places among other normal practises.
It also includes advice with regard to 'Vastu shastra', 'jyothishya' and other astrologers.
Practises included under the 'schedule' for prohibition are performing any inhuman, evil act and black magic in search of precious things, bounty and hidden treasures.
Other practises listed under 16 points for prohibition include facilitating any person to roll over leaves of left over food by other persons in any public or religious places or similar practises that violate human dignity.
Also, forcing any person to carry on evil practises like killing an animal by biting its neck and coercing any person or persons to perform 'firewalk' during 'jatras' (temple/ village fest), religious festivals have also been included in this category.
The 'Karnataka Extension of Consequential Seniority to Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation (to post in civil services of the state) Bill, 2017' was also introduced in the Assembly.
It aims at determining seniority of government servants promoted on the basis of reservation, to the post of civil services of the state.
The government had earlier proposed amendment to the 'Karnataka Determination of Seniority of Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation Act 2002', seen as an escape route to the February 9 Supreme Court verdict that had struck down reservation in promotions for SC/ST employees, by promulgating an ordinance.
Popularly known as 'SC/ST Promotions Bill', the bill was introduced after the state government failed to get governor's nod to the ordinance and to avoid demoting employees.