Religion plays a significant role in shaping the cultural fabric of a nation. However, in some cases, religious sentiments can be misused or violated, leading to social unrest and disharmony. To maintain religious harmony and protect the sentiments of individuals, the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has provisions that deal with offences relating to religion.
SECTION 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion) : Section 153A deals with promoting enmity between different religious groups. Any person who intentionally promotes, or attempts to promote, disharmony or feelings of hatred, enmity, or ill-will between different religious groups can be held accountable. This offence carries a punishment of imprisonment up to three years or a fine, or both.
Section 295 (Injuring or defiling a place of worship) : Section 295 protects the sanctity of religious places by criminalising acts that damage or defile them. Any person who destroys, damages, or defiles a place of worship with the intention to insult the religion or religious beliefs of any class of citizens can face imprisonment for up to two years, a fine, or both.
Section 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) : Section 295A states that anyone who intentionally insults or attempts to insult the religion or religious beliefs of a specific group of citizens in India, whether through spoken or written words, signs, visible representations, or any other means, can be punished with imprisonment for up to three years, a fine, or both.
Section 298 (Uttering words with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings) : Section 298 focuses on preventing individuals from intentionally hurting religious sentiments. It states that anyone who utters words, makes gestures, or exhibits any object with the deliberate intention to wound the religious.
The provisions mentioned in the Indian Penal Code regarding offences relating to religion emphasise the importance of maintaining religious harmony and protecting the sentiments of individuals. These provisions play a crucial role in safeguarding the diversity and inclusivity of our society. It is important for every individual to respect the beliefs and sentiments of others, fostering an environment of peace and mutual understanding.