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Report No. 42

Chapter 15

Offences Relating to Religion

15.1. Introductory.-

Originally, the Code formulated four offences relating to religion and made them punishable under four sections in Chapter 15. The first deals with damaging or defiling a place of worship or a sacred object with intent to insult the religion of a class of persons; the second, with disturbing a religious worship or ceremony; the third, with trespass in any place of sepulcher or place where funeral ceremonies are proceeding; and the last, with utterances in the presence of another person with the intention of wounding the religious feelings of that person.

Later on, it was found that there was no legal provision to punish a person who deliberately wounded the religious feelings of a class of persons by speech or written publication. A new section 295A was added in 1927 in the Code, which made it an offence to insult the religion of any class of citizens by spoken or written words, if it was done with the "deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the-religious feelings"' of that class.

15.2. Section 295.-amendment proposed.-

This is a necessary and salutary provision, but it is needlessly hedged in by too many conditions. It is not clear what the import of the word 'malicious' is; when there is a 'deliberate' intention to outrage the religious feeling of a class of citizens, the state of mind is reprehensible enough to merit severe punishment. Secondly, it is noticed that while section 297 and 298 refer to wounding the feelings of any person, section 295A refers to outraging the feelings of a class. There seems to be no particular point in varying a material expression. We, therefore, propose to amend section 295A by describing the mens rea as "with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings" etc.

15.3. Other sections.- The other sections in this Chapter do not require any modification.

Indian Penal Code Back

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