What is Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)?

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Overview:

The Uttar Pradesh government recently told the Supreme Court that the school teacher who allegedly goaded students to slap a Muslim classmate may face charges under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

About Section 295A of IPC

  • The object of Section 295-A is to punish deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulating its religion or religious beliefs.
  • This section only punishes an aggravated form of insult to religion when it is perpetrated with the deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of a class.
  • Ingredients of Section 295-A:
    • The accused must insult or attempt to insult the religion or religious beliefs of any class of citizens of India.
    • The said insult must be made with a deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of the said class of citizens.
    • The said insult must be by words, either spoken or written, by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise.
    • Section 295A IPC is a cognisable, non-bailable, and non-compoundable offence, and police can register an FIR anywhere in the country at the instance of purportedly aggrieved complainants.
  • What has the Supreme Court ruled?
    • In 1957, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the said section in ‘Ramji Lal Modi v. State of U.P.’ 
    • The Court held that Section 295A IPC does not penalize any and every act of insult to or attempt to insult any religion or the religious beliefs of a class of citizens. 
    • The Court cautioned that only those acts of insults or attempts to so insult can be penalized under this provision which is perpetrated with the deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of that class.
    • The Court further clarified that the provision would only apply to such aggravated forms of insult to religion that are calculated to disrupt the public order.

Q1) What is a non-compoundable offence?

Compoundable offences are minor crimes where the victim can agree to drop charges through compromise. Non-compoundable offences are serious crimes that can’t be settled and require full trials for justice.

Source: Teacher who told students to slap Muslim classmate may be charged under Section 295A IPC: UP to Supreme Court