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Report No. 156

Clause 58

12.32. Under this clause a new section 153C is sought to be added. Sections 153A and 153B were added in the year 1972 in Chapter VIII 'which deals with offences against public tranquility. Under section 153A whoever by words, either spoken or written, promotes disharmony, etc., or commits any act, organise any movement etc. with a view to promote enmity between different groups on grounds of religion etc., is punishable.

Under section 153B whoever, by words either spoken or written, etc. makes or publishes any imputation, asserts, propagates, makes or publish any assertion or an appeal concerning the obligation of any person belonging to any religion, language, caste or community, is also punishable. In its 42nd Report, the Law Commission having traced the legislative history of these sections referred to the judgment of the Supreme Court in Kedarnath's case, AIR 1962 SC 955, wherein the validity of section 124A was upheld. On a parity of reasoning the Law Commission noted that the validity of section 153A could also be supported.

Thereafter, the Law Commission proceeded to consider the scope of section 153A and observed that explanation to section 153A protects honest criticism or any act of the person criticising a political party without a malicious intention. The Law Commission, however, did not recommend insertion of section 153C. It may be noted at this stage that the existing section 505 deals with offence of making statements conducive to public mischief and lays down that whoever makes, publishes or circulates, etc., with intent to cause fear to the personnel of the defence services or with a view to cause fear to public etc. would be punishable.

The Law Commission in its 42nd Report recommended deletion of this section. However, there was a recommendation to bring changes in sections 153A and 153B, but section 153C, however, is being added under clause 58 of the Bill and the same carries the essence of section 505 except omitting the soldiers, Navy, etc. Obviously, because, these offences against defence personnel have been taken care of in the respective Acts applicable to those services. We have already discussed this in this Chapter dealing with offences against armed forces, etc. We agree that section 153C may accordingly be added.

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