Author: Yash Bisht
IMS Unison University, Dehradun
India has undergone rampant elevation in Science and technology, resulting in enlightenment in the lifestyles of people. But as stated by Masasgi Kishimoto, “In this world, where there is light, there are also shadows”. Even though the recent years has seen the light of science and modernization; on the contrary, shadows have also emerged. Hiding within these shadows, and creeping around for all this time, evil practices like Black Magic has stamped its authority in this so called modernising society.
There are countless instances where in the name of healing a sick person, he is beaten up and thrashed for days, spells and other spooky practices are tried over such people. No one can ever forget the freakish Burari deaths of Delhi, an incident that still gives goose bumps.
While gazing for a solution to counter black magic, people frequently opt for another superstitious practice, resulting into a never ending loop of following the shadows or darkness. People often tend to forget that they have an ample number of legal remedies in their armour. The blog deals with all the available legal remedies for piercing off the creeping shadows of black magic.
WHAT IS BLACK MAGIC: THE BASICS
We live in a world of duality where light and darkness are the two sides of the same coin. Black magic is often referred as the dark or the negative side of these energies i.e., utilization of supernatural powers or magic for malevolent and egotistical purposes. This is done mostly to eliminate the evil or other foul spirits.
It is a social evil supported by people since centuries, courtesy their religious beliefs. Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Indian Constitution i.e., the fundamental rights of the citizens are violated during the course of commiting such offences.
RECENT SURGE IN BLACK MAGIC CASES:
An unbridled surge in black magic cases has been witnessed in the recent times. On August 6, a 5-year-old girl named Annashi Chinme, was thrashed to death by her parents so as to “drive away evil spirit” that they thought had possessed her.
Apart from this, an elderly couple was attacked by a sword resulting in the death of a 65-year-old-woman. Jabalpur has been a hub to these activities as six people have been killed on suspicion of black magic.
On April 10, 52-year-old Sunil Barkade, who was under suspicion of Black Magic was murdered and hanged on a tree in Uchehra village under Kundam Police Station. Sadly, this list could go on and on.
In the era of modernization, the increasing death toll over an issue like black magic is a disappointment. But it is still to be dealt with. In order to do so, there are abundant legal remedies that a person can go with. First and foremost, a person can always file an FIR under Section 154 of CrPC against black magic crimes.
REMEDIES UNDER INDIAN PENAL CODE (IPC):
IPC can be looked upon while addressing cases related to black magic and witch craft. Section 508 of IPC deals with this problem to the closest possible magnitude. This section deals with the “acts caused by inducing a person to believe that he will become an object of divine pleasure”. An imprisonment up to one year or fine, or both is what an offender would be liable if found guilty.
Besides this, the different sections of IPC invoked in black magic cases are Section 302 which charges for murder, Section 307 i.e., attempt to murder, Section 323 (hurt), Section 376 for penalizing rape as well as Section 354 which deals with issues regarding outraging a woman’s modesty.
In addition to this, a number of Acts works as a remedy available against black magic. Some of these are mentioned below:-
1. Drugs and Magic Remedies (objectionable advertisements) Act, 1954
2. Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993
3. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
4. IPC Section 200 (Culpable homicide), Section 354 (Assault) and Section 375(Rape)
However, there is no particular nationalised Act against superstition in India. Although, 8 States have made laws against these evil practices, so the citizens belonging to these states can opt for remedies under those Acts. These states are Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, Assam, Maharashtra and Karnataka. An insight to the laws established by some of these states is given below:-
The Maharashtra Government came up with “The Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013”, an anti-superstition law that aims to make to make all the practices involving black magic as illegal.
Any person found guilty under this Act shall be imprisoned for a time period ranging between six months to seven years and a fine between Rs. 5000 and Rs. 50000.
The State of Karnataka, in a similar fashion to Maharashtra, has adopted an anti-superstition Act with an aim to stop witch crafts, black magic and several other cruel practices that also includes acts committed in the name of religion causing harm to animals and humans.
The Assam Act 2015 has also called upon the witch-hunt related crimes as harsher punishments are allocated , ranging between seven to a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment.
The judicial system has already taken a few steps so as to eradicate this problem. In the case of Ishwari Lal Yadav v State of Chhattisgarh (2019), 3 judge bench of the Supreme Court gave death sentences to a couple in a case of a human sacrifice of a 2-year-old.
WAY AHEAD: A NEED FOR AN ANTI-SPERSTITION LAW?
The lack of proper legislation has often been criticized. A few set of people, argue that IPC and other related laws are more than enough to deal with these problems. But if we dig thoroughly, the ground reality remains starkly different. The foremost reason being the shortcoming of IPC.
There are various loopholes in IPC with regards to black magic murder and witch crafts, for instance, IPC only takes cognizance of human sacrifice after a murder is committed. Black Magic also causes physical torture to an enormous level, but IPC categorizes it merely as ‘simple hurt’. Not to mention the mental trauma alongside such pain; this is being bluntly ignored by the Code. Henceforth, victims have a tough road ahead when it comes to getting justice as per IPC and more often than not, end up withdrawing their complaints because of the social pressure surrounding it.
Superstition is something that cannot be removed merely by means of law, a change in the mental state is the prerequisite for stopping this sinister. An intellectual detach in the mind-set is necessary. However, laws focusing on superstitious practices that are dehumanizing, brutal, and shady should be managed and categorized.
The current legal remedies do provide some assistance in this regard, but a central law, focusing over the victim and understanding the narrative within which such crimes occur in the Country is the need of the hour and shall be formulated in order to spark the light of ecstasy, or else, the day is not far when these creeping shadows and darkness of black magic will reign supreme.