The Bombay High Court asked the state government to inform by October 12 whether it had appointed vigilance officers for effective implementation of a Maharashtra law to prevent and eradicate evil practices.
A bench of Justices Ranjit More and Rajesh Ketkar also asked the state to inform whether it had framed rules as mentioned under section 11 of Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifices and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by social worker Ramesh Joshi contending that though the Act came into force on August 26, 2013, the state had not appointed vigilance officers and also not framed rules.
Public prosecutor Purnima Kantharia sought time to seek instructions from the government whether it had issued notification to appoint vigilance officers for effective implementation of the Act.
The HC granted two weeks’ time and asked her to file a reply by October 12.
The petitioner said the Act was enacted to bring about social awareness in the society and create safe environment to protect common people in the society against evil practices thriving on ignorance and other inhuman and evil methods adopted in the name of black magic to exploit the people.
The petition said that section 5 of the Act provided that the state would appoint vigilance officers to detect and prevent the contravention of its provisions and rules made thereunder. A vigilance officer, upon finding such violations of the Act, is required to report to the nearest police station within the area of his jurisdiction.
Such a vigilance officer also has to ensure that speedy action is taken upon his complaint and give necessary advice, help and guidance to the police station, it said.
If the officers are not appointed soon, then the purpose of the Act would be defeated, the petitioner alleged and sought a direction to the government to act immediately on the issue.