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BANNED HANUMAN CHALISA YANTRA AND OTHER ITEMS CLAIMING SUPERNATURAL POWER – BOMBAY HC, 2020

Pendant claiming Super-natural Powers - N Roy

INTRODUCTION

Want to get quick success and solutions to all of your problems? Here is the pendent with the blessing of God which benefitted even the well-known faces of our media. All the advertisements sound almost like taking advantage of our religious values and miserable situations. When these advertisements show the celebrities as its testimonials, it has much greater effects.

SUPERSTITIONS – THE ROOT CAUSE

The word superstition comes from the Latin word ‘supertito’ which mainly comes from the Latin words ‘super’ and ‘stare’. It came into being in the 15th century. Etymologists have given it the meaning ‘something which over awes’. Meaning, this is supernatural, out of the control of human power.

 According to Wikipedia, “Superstition refers to any belief or practice that is caused by supernatural causality, and which contradicts modern science”. It is a practice that is backed by religious beliefs and is supposed to fulfill the person’s intention or to please God. India has a great history of superstitions. Wikipedia jots down sati and human sacrifices in the past.  It is about the date in us even if we deny it. Cutting nails at night or crossing a black cat stops us. We may have upgraded ourselves along with the developments of technologies but not in the case of our beliefs. Sometimes, these superstitions are so violent deep down it urges a man to kill people which we know as a human sacrifice. Buying gemstones hoping to get astrological remedies to calm down the ferocious effects of the astrological planets from our birth charts is like everyday happening in India. But these loopholes on belief are creating the space for exploiters to take advantage of us extracting money from us giving false hopes and also we, on the other hand, believing upon them to get any supernatural assistance on the problems of our lives.

Article 51A (h) of the Constitution of India states, “to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform”. We are ought to build up an analytical and rational thinking pattern according to our Constitution. Even if we do that a little bit, these exploitations would have been prevented.

Rajendra Ambhore v. Union of India, 2015  – The Hanuman Chalisa Case

Hanuman Chalisa Yantra advertisement shows the pendent (yantra) of Lord Hanuman claiming to have supernatural power to resolve any of the problems in one‘s life. It has shown renowned actors who himself claimed that it worked. Moreover, it showed people giving testimonials for its immense power to maintain house peace and giving back all the losses that a businessman gained a few years ago with more than he can ever imagine. It also says to give a 24-carat gold chain with it.

It was proposed that this yantra was made by Baba Mangalnath, who has achieved siddhi, the ability to do anything, and the blessing of Lord Hanuman. So, having the yantra would mean having the blessing of Lord Hanuman himself, who would protect him always and remove all the blockages of his life.

In short, it is a guaranteed way to success with Lord Hanuman’s blessing.

It was being sold by an Indore-based Telemart Shopping Network Pvt Ltd/Seller.

It can easily lure any superstitious person to buy this hoping to get a result. Concerning the same, Rajendra Ambhore addressed the Prime Minister, Chief Minister, the Central Government, and police to look over these kinds of advertisements on the television which can easily fool any superstitious person with this false propaganda. It is worthy to say that we still fall for these kinds of advertisements despite knowing that these are benefiting using our beliefs.

When he did not get any affirmative responses from these authorities, he stepped in to file his complaint. This complaint now covered public interest at a large scale making its withdrawal impossible in 2018. It started gaining attention so quickly that Senior Advocate VD Sapkal was appointed by the court as Amicus Curiae aiding in the prosecution and he even waived his fees for this case as it involved the public interest at a huge scale.

It is indeed a serious issue to look upon. These advertisements are circulated all over India. People from remote places are also able to watch it. In no doubt, it can easily be assumed that many of them bought it and used it. Who all didn’t find any outcome of the product was cheated. But, did any of them report these? No. Did it then stop advertising even after knowing that it did not help them? No. These are mass cheating. It has to be stopped on a larger scale.

JUDGMENTS PASSED BY THE BOMBAY HC

  • The Bombay High Court (Aurangabad Bench) consisting of Justice Tanaji Nalawade and Justice Mukund Sewlikarn Tuesday (05th January) decreed that the sale of items claiming to have supernatural powers on television advertisements are held illegal and banned.
  • It also held that the TV channels telecasting advertisements of these items would be liable under Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013.
  • The act of the respondent amounts to cheating and hence actions should be done to prevent it.
  • The court is needed to give relief of declaration and injunction in this case, but it would focus mainly on enforcing the Black Magic Act, 2013.

PREVENTION METHODS/GUIDELINES SUGGESTED BY THE COURT

  • “State government and Vigilance officers under the Act of 2013 should register crimes by giving reports against the persons making such advertisements.”
  • “State and Central government should have cells to ensure no such advertisements are telecast under different names, and if so, to stop them immediately by invoking the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995.”
  • “If such authority is not in place, then they were given a month to appoint such authority by invoking the provision of the 2013 Act.”
  • “The Court also brought the TV channels under the radar by holding them liable for telecasting such advertisements.”
  • “The Court has now directed the State and Central government to inform it within 30 days of the steps taken to implement the directions issued to them.”

COURT’S OBSERVATIONS ON THE LEGISLATION

  • According to section 3 of the Black Magic Act, which states,

“No person shall either himself or through any other person commits, promote, propagate or practice or cause to promote, propagate or practice human sacrifice and other inhuman, evil and Aghori practices and black magic mentioned or described in the Schedule appended to this Act.

The yantra mentioned had claimed of having miraculous and supernatural powers but the seller failed to show its presence in reality.

The pendant fits in the description of section 3 of the said act and it befools people to extract money from them.

  • Entry 2 of the Black Magic Act states,

“(2) Display of so-called miracles by a person and thereby earning money; and to deceive, defraud and terrorize people by propagation and circulation of so-called miracles.”
The yantra was claimed to be made by Baba who achieved siddhi meaning having the power of black magic. Entry no. 2 describes this situation. Moreover, it was backed by the testimonials of celebrity faces like Manoj Kumar (the then renowned film producer, writer, director, actor), Anuradha Paudwal (singer), and Anup Jalota (singer) to create a more impactful effect on the viewers.

  • Again, Entry no. 11(a) of the said act is also applicable in this case.

“(11) (a) To create an impression that special supernatural powers are present in himself, the incarnation of another person or holy spirit or that the devotee was his wife, husband, or paramour in the past birth, thereby indulging into sexual activity with such person”.

Overview of The Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013

The Maharashtra Legislature passed this Act on 26th August 2013 as mentioned in the act and commences thereafter. Dr. Narendra Dabolkar, a social activist, originally drafted this bill 17 years ago being worried after the current scenario of the state in superstitions, black magic, human sacrifice, and many more. He was shot dead at Pune by those who were opposed to this bill as being assumed. At times it was also called as Anti- Hindu Bill by many parties. It withstands oppositions of BJP and Shiv Sena mainly. Nevertheless, it got passed concerning the present-day scenario criminalizing black magic, human sacrifices, astrological cure of ailments, and others taking advantage of man’s superstition.

The main ideas covered in this act are:

  • No one by himself or by other means practices, or propagates or promotes human sacrifice, black magic, and other evil or Aghori practices.
  • Anyone doing the same shall be punished with imprisonment not less than 6 months which may extend up to 7 years and with a fine ranging from Rs 5,000-Rs 50,000.
  • Anyone abetting this act shall be presumed to have committed the offence and shall be punished accordingly.
  • These are all cognizable and non-bailable offences.
  • It also assigns one or more police stations and also some police officers as Vigilance officers to look after these kinds of cases.
  • The Vigilance officers are needed to look for any of these kinds of activities nearby under his jurisdiction and if he finds so must report to the nearby police station.
  • He must reserve all the evidence found there for the prosecution.
  • Anyone who tries to obstruct the Vigilance officer will be imprisoned which may extend up to 3 months or fine extending up to Rs 5,000 or both.

Author(s) Name: Neelanjana Roy (Surendranath Law College, Kolkata)

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