Section 295A in The Indian Penal Code

Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code mentions Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs. Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizens of India insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

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What is Section 295A?

According to Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), acts that are deliberately performed with preplanned and evil intent to hurt a particular group’s religious sentiments or religious values are a crime prosecuted under the law. Section 295A, in a sense, can be dubbed the blasphemy law of India wherein denigrating religious views or ideas through signs, visual representation, spoken or written words is considered a punishable offense.

Facts about Section 295A IPC

  1. The alleged perpetrator must have a deliberate and malicious intent behind abusing a religion, its views, or the people belonging to that group.
  2. The disrespect towards the targeted group must be visible. In other words, the proof that the alleged perpetrator had a deliberate intention to offend the religious sentiments of the targeted group must be tangible.
  3. The offense is punishable if it is in the form of verbal speech or written speech, gestures, visual representation, and via other such means.

Candidates can find answers to related questions through the links given below:

What is Indian Penal Code? What are IPC and CrPC?
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History of Section 295A

The history of Section 295A and its current affairs are two topics from which questions generally come in UPSC prelims.

Section 295A has an illustrious history as it was not present in the initial proposal of the Indian Penal Code drafted in 1860. It originated in the Colonial British Government era. They enacted the law on account of some cases that caused widespread outrage across the nation on religious grounds.

Section 153A

UPSC aspirants should familiarize themselves with the concept of Section 153A as well because it is one of the most important topics from which questions can come in UPSC 2023.

According to Section 153A, acts that promote animosity between different groups and disturb communal peace are punishable by the offense. The law was later changed due to a lack of specificity.

Creation of Section 295A

From a constitutional standpoint, Section 295A uses “reasonable restriction,” whereby a person has the right to use their freedom of speech and expression as long as they do not offend or harm the religious sentiments of any group with their fundamental right. UPSC syllabus covers the entire topic of Section 295A.

Cognizable offense

Section 295A is considered a cognizable offense whereby the police can arrest the alleged perpetrator without obtaining a warrant from a judge. A simple complaint or an FIR is enough for someone to be arrested and charged with Section 295A. Several issues with Section 295A have come to light in recent years.

Way forward

Several changes can be made to the existing law. Due to several loopholes that have come to light regarding Section 295A, it is suggestible that Section 296A be made a non-cognizable offense and bailable offense in nature. UPSC aspirants should keep themselves up to date with the current affairs related to Section 295A as these questions are extremely common In UPSC exam.

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