The bill for eradication of witchcraft and unfair religious practices will be tabled again in the ongoing budget session of the state legislature. The validity of the draft bill that was passed in the assembly in December 2005 but was later withheld by the upper house expired last year. Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar informed the assembly on Thursday that the new bill would respect religious sentiments. “We will issue an ordinance if we are unable to pass the bill this time,” he said.
The bill was given three extensions because of stiff opposition from all-party leaders, especially the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party.
Earlier, legislatures had contested certain provisions in the bill. Many argued that palmistry and astrology had a scientific base and hence should be deleted from the bill. They opposed the idea of stalling religious rituals such as animal sacrifice arguing that it would evoke public ire since the practice was socially accepted.