Explained | What are the laws against black magic and superstition in India?

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained | What are the laws against black magic and superstition in India?” published in The Hindu on 30th October 2022.

What is the News?

The brutal murders of two women as part of “ritualistic human sacrifices” in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala have left the country in shock. 

Chilling details of the killings have sparked a debate about the prevalence of superstitious beliefs, black magic and sorcery in Kerala.

What does the NCRB data say on deaths due to black magic and Superstition?

As per the 2021 report of the National Crime Records Bureau(NCRB), six deaths were linked to human sacrifices while witchcraft was the motive for 68 killings. 

The maximum number of witchcraft cases were reported from Chhattisgarh (20), followed by Madhya Pradesh (18) and Telangana (11). Kerala saw two cases of human sacrifice. 

Note: In 2020, India saw 88 deaths due to witchcraft and 11 died as part of ‘human sacrifices’.

Is there a law in India against black magic and Superstition?

In India, there is no central law that exclusively deals with crimes related to witchcraft, superstition or occult-inspired activities. 

In 2016, MP Raghav Lakhanpal introduced the Prevention of Witch-Hunting Bill in the Lok Sabha, but it wasn’t passed. 

In the absence of nationwide legislation, a few States have enacted laws to counter witchcraft and protect women from deadly ‘witch-hunting’. 

Bihar was the first State to enact a law to prevent witchcraft, identification of a woman as a witch and eliminate torture, humiliation and killing of women. Similarly, other states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Maharashtra and Karnataka have also passed the act.

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