An Act to prevent the commission of offences of Jat Panchayat or Gavaki or similar type of village Institution may be called by any other name and to bring restriction on functioning of such type of Institution or to provide for the trial of such offences and also for the rehabilitation of victims of suchoffences and for matters connected therewith or incidental therewith or incidental therewith.
Be it enacted by the Assembly in the Sixty Sixth Year of the Republic of India as Follows:-
It has been experienced that the government has received many complaints against the Jat Panchayat or caste Panchayat or Gavaki which are traditionally existing in the society since old days. The Jat Panchayat in the name of resolving disputes arising amongst the members of society are committing atrocities on them by entertaining their dispute and deciding them and awarding a punishment. They are functioning as a parallel Dispute Resolution System or Justice Delivery System. While awarding punishment they impose and recover the fine of heavy amount or direct the excommunication or boycott or expulsion from the caste and also cause physical & mental injury to the victim or cause them to suffer or such other serious consequences, which amounts to cognizable offences under the Indian Penal Code, or any other law for the time being in force and the poor population in the society are thereby exploited or harassed, or suffered, and to prevent such unlawful activities and to meet the social evil the State Government therefore decided to enact the following law.1. Short title, extent & Commencement
(1)This Act may be called the Maharashtra Restrictions of Functioning of Jat Panchayat Act 2015
(2) It extends to the whole of Maharashtra.
(3) It shall come into force on such date as the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare.
In this Act unless the context otherwise requires-
a. Jat Panchayat: It is a traditional dispute resolution institution existing in the Society since old days and under the garb of or in the name of delivering justice which resolves or decides matrimonial disputes, property disputes or the caste related disputes regarding customs and rituals of the caste. The Jat Panchayat may punish a person and or by expelling a person or his family from the Caste or a family whom the Panchayat have declared guilty of wrong which is a violation of caste rules, traditions or customs or for marrying a person outside of the caste.
b. Expulsion from Caste: means and includes boycott, excommunication and out casting from cast.
c. words and expressions used but not defined in this act and defined in the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) shall have the meanings assigned to them respectively in the code or as the case may be.
3. Prohibition as per the act:
Following acts and deeds or omissions of the Jat Panchayat are prohibited:
a) They should not entertain the dispute regarding marriage, divorce, maintenance or any of the kind of matrimonial disputes.
b) Regarding any custom pertaining to marriage property, birth and death rituals, social obligations, caste obligation and any kind of caste related disputes and complaints.
c) From summoning any person for giving evidence or for enquiry or any other such purpose before the Jat Panchayat and to compel his attendance by employing coercive measures.
d) From compelling any person to attend the meetings of Jat Panchayat or to produce any document or evidence in the custody of the person.
e) From recording any evidence either oral or documentary.
f) From punishing any person by doing any physical act or by causing any injury, mental or physical or causing his death.
g) By imposing any fine in any manner or mod and causing its recovery by coercion or compulsion.
h) By declaring and causing excommunication or boycott of a person or awarding any kind of punishment in any form or manner or mode.
4. Punishment of Offences:
a) Any person or group of person forming or constituting a Jat Panchayat for resolving disputes prohibited by this Act shall be committing an offence punishable for Simple Imprisonment of 6 months or fine of Rs.1,00,000/- or both & in default of payment of fine he shall suffer a Rigorous Imprisonment for three months.
b) Any person or group of persons being the member or the members of the Jat Panchayat doing any act or omission mentioned or prohibited in this Act or Schedule shall be punished for Rigorous Imprisonment for 5 years or fine of Rs.2,00,000/- & in default of payment of fine he shall suffer a Rigorous Imprisonment for one more year.
5. Enhancement punishment for subsequent conviction :
Whoever, having already been convicted of an offence under this Act is convicted for the second offence or any offence subsequent to the second offence, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to the punishment provided for that offence.
6. Cognizance of Offences :
Offences under this Act shall be Cognizable and non-bailable.
7. Application of Criminal Procedure Code :
The provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure shall be applicable for investigation and trial of offences under this act.
8. Investigating Officer :
No police officer below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police should investigate the offences under this act.
9. Presumption of Offences :
In a prosecution for an offence under this Act if it is proved that a person or a group of persons have formed a Jat Panchayat and entertained a dispute
which is prohibited under this Act by such person or group of persons it shallbe presumed unless the contrary is proved that such a person or group of persons have committed the Offence under this act.
10. Duty of Government to ensure for the effective implementation of the Act :
Subject to this act the State Government may make rules in this behalf, the State Government shall take such measures as may be necessary for the
effective implementation of this Act.
I Causing a death of a woman or a person on account of her marriage with a person who belongs to other caste or religion or on account of her virginity or purity.
II Sexual exploitation or harassment on account of her marriage with a person who is belonging to other caste or having relationship with a person of the caste or belonging to other caste or she is being raped or violated the code of conduct observed by the caste in respect of marriage and sexual relationship.
III Giving a punishment physical or mental punishment to the person who disobeys the rules of established code of conduct of the caste or disobeys the customs prevailing in the caste and violates the directions of the Panch of the Jat Panchayat or Gavki and fails or refuses to observe the customs and rituals observed in the caste or followed by the caste.
IV Expelling of a person from the caste, various types of atrocities and harassment of women by the Jat Panchayat isolating the discipline enforced by the Jat Panchayat violating the disciplines enforced by the Jat Panchayat or Gavki.
V Illegal trafficking of women as a mode of punishment.
VI To harass and doing injury, physical or mental to a person in the name of taking back a person in a caste / Gavaki who was earlier out casted, excommunicated or boycotted.
VII Directing and compelling a married woman to share a bed with other person than her spouse as a punishment.