Assam Assembly Passes Bill Banning Non-Scientific Healing Practices

The Assam Healing (Prevention of Evil) Practices Bill, 2024, which aims to prevent traditional healing done with ulterior motives, was passed on the final day of the ongoing budget session.
Assam Assembly Passes Bill Banning Non-Scientific Healing Practices
Assam Assembly Passes Bill Banning Non-Scientific Healing PracticesFile image

The Assam assembly on Monday passed legislation, banning non-scientific healing practices in the state.

The Assam Healing (Prevention of Evil) Practices Bill, 2024, which aims to prevent traditional healing done with ulterior motives, was passed on the final day of the ongoing budget session.

The Act intends to raise awareness in society about healthy, science-based information to protect human health from "evil and sinister practices that thrive on people's ignorance and ill-health."

The Act aims to eliminate non-scientific therapeutic techniques that have "ulterior motives for exploiting innocent people and thereby destroying the fiber of public health in the society."

From now, no person can take part in any healing practices including claims of magical healing for treatment of any diseases, any disorder or any condition relating to human health directly or indirectly giving a false impression of treatment to cure diseases, pain or trouble to human health.

“No person shall take part in any sort of advertisement relating to any kind of medicine, remedy directly or indirectly relating to any false claim to cure diseases through healing practices,” the legislation read.

Offences committed under the provisions of the Bill would be cognizable and non-bailable and in the case of the first offence a person can be jailed for one year which may be extended up to three years with a fine of ₹50000 or with both; and, in the case of a subsequent conviction, with imprisonment which may extend up to five years, or with a fine of ₹1 lakh or both.

“We feel this Bill is another attempt to bring uniform civil code in Assam. There is no clear definition of evil practices and each community in Assam has some ways or curing illnesses and healing them based on traditional herbs/medicines and practices,” said Congress legislature party leader Debabrata Saikia while speaking in the assembly before the bill was passed.

Several other legislators also raised doubts on which kinds of practices the Bill sought to ban as different communities in Assam have been practising several means of healing.

“We won’t stop anyone from continuing to indulge in traditional healing practices done with good intention. But we want to ban any such thing which is done with an ulterior or sinister motive to earn money from people by claiming to cure incurable diseases. The Bill has no connection with UCC,” said chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma while speaking in favour of the legislation.

The assembly on Monday passed 14 other bills including one on preventing the use of unfair means in recruitment for government jobs. Though the government had earlier stated that it would introduce a bill to ban polygamy during this session, no such legislation was tabled.

Last week, the Assam cabinet had decided to repeal an 89-year-old legislation involving registration of marriages and divorces by Muslims in the state. While there was discussion on it on Monday, the government didn’t table any legislation repealing the Assam Moslem Marriage and Divorce Registration Act, 1935.

Assam Assembly Passes Bill Banning Non-Scientific Healing Practices
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