State to en-Act the change from Bombay to Maharashtra

In a bid to rid itself of any colonial hangover, state will introduce a bill to change over 125 Acts known as Bombay Acts to Maharashtra Acts

Whatever it is that there is in a name -- foreign legacy, colonial hangover, poll agendas, or political inexactitude -- it has pressed state legislators cutting across party lines to endorse an amendment that will transform legalese forever.

In a historic step that will bring regionalists closer to nudging out 'Bombay' from judicial records, the state government will introduce a bill to change the title of all legislations dubbed as Bombay Acts to Maharashtra Acts.

The bill, to be introduced in the Winter Session of the state legislature scheduled to begin on December 12 at Nagpur, may re-christen over 125 of these Acts in the state, a senior official from Mantralaya said.

"All these Acts were enacted before 1960 and were adopted verbatim by the first legislative assembly which came into existence after the state of Maharashtra was carved out. But since 1960, all Acts were known as Maharashtra Acts," said the government official.

The amendment proposal comes after a ruckus broke out during the monsoon session of the state legislature, where certain members objected to an amendment bill being introduced as 'Bombay Act'. To pacify the agitated members, the Democratic Front government assured them of 'rectifying' it and eventually gave its nod for the change.

The bill comes 15 years after Bombay was baptised Mumbai, courtesy the Shiv Sena. 

In a recent meeting, the business advisory committee (BAC) of the legislature that comprises members from the ruling as well as opposition parties was informed of the government's intention to introduce the bill.

It may be recalled that the Shiv Sena-BJP government in 1996 had decided to rename Bombay as Mumbai, the change accepted world across, except Bombay High Court and the Acts known as Bombay Acts. The state has the right to change titles of the Acts but the high court name has to be ratified by the central government as the Bombay high court was established under a central Act.

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