India

BJP MP’s private member’s bill: Punishment for religious animosity

BJP MP Sunil Kumar Singh on Friday, introduced a private member’s bill in the Lok Sabha, to set up an agency which will be devoted to the prohibition of publication and dissemination of objectionable material on religion, with punitive action for such publication being no less than two years and up to five years imprisonment, and to derecognise any publisher or advertising agency involved in it.

“In recent times, there has been a sudden rise in the case of publication and dissemination of objectionale material on religion in the country. Certain mischievous elements try to hurt the religious sentiments of citizens of the country with support from certain publishers and advertising agencies. In the name of right to freedom of expression enshrined in our Constitution, they tend to threaten the integrity of the country. Such publication and dissemination of objectionable material on religion needs to be restricted in order to preserve the secular fabric of the country,” the bill states in its statement of objects and reasons.

Timely

The bill is interesting in that it comes at a time when several cases have been filed in different parts of the country over hurting the religious sentiments of one group or the other. Many of these cases have been filed citing Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, that relates “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of race, religion, caste etc.”

The Punjab Assembly had in August 2018, passed a Bill, The Indian Penal Code (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018 which sought to insert Section 295AA, with the provison of life imprisonment, for the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib, Gita, Quran and Bible, in Punjab. The Bill is still awaiting Presidential assent.


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Printable version | Aug 6, 2022 4:33:30 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bjp-mps-private-members-bill-punishment-for-religious-animosity/article65732318.ece