oppn parties Draconian Laws Not Needed, Use Existing Ones Efficiently

News Snippets

  • Centre sanctions Rs 15000cr for Covid19 emergency response, part of it immediately and the rest over a period of four years in mission mode
  • RBI says Covid-19 has "drastically altered" the growth outlook in India
  • Third coronavirus death in the Dharavi slum in Mumbai
  • Odisha becomes the first state to extend the lockdown until April 30. Schools and colleges in the state to remain closed until June 17th
  • The Supreme Court orders all coronavirus testing, including by private labs, to be done for free, says will look into the matter of reimbursement for private players at a later date
  • Former Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar proposes an Indo-Pak ODI series to raise funds for fighting coronavirus
  • Maharashtra government says many Tablighi Jamaat members who attended the Markaz and returned have gone into hiding
  • West Bengal government identifies hotspots in Kolkata and the rest of the state, inclined to extend the lockdown in those places only
  • Prime Minister Modi holds a video conference with floor leaders of opposition parties, hints at extending the lockdown
  • UP seals hotspots and makes masks mandatory
  • Masks made compulsory in Mumbai, violators will be arrested
  • ICMR says an infected person can infect 406 people in 30 days without social distancing and lockdown
  • Stock markets make a smart recovery. Sensex up by record 2476 points on global cues
  • Schools, colleges and shopping malls likely to remain closed for a further period of one month, says empowered group of ministers
  • PM Modi tells BJP workers that India is in for a long battle against the coronavirus and there is no scope to feel tired or defeated
Total Covid-19 cases rise to 5734 on Thursday and the death toll stands at 166, says the health ministry in its daily briefing
oppn parties
Draconian Laws Not Needed, Use Existing Ones Efficiently

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2018-08-28 13:38:17

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The Congress government in Punjab has approved an amendment that seeks to insert section 295AA in the Indian Penal Code to prescribe life imprisonment for causing “injury, damage or sacrilege to Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Srimad Bhagwad Geeta, Holy Quran and Holy Bible with the intention to hurt the religious feelings of the people”. The previous Akali government had also tried a similar law but it was related to offences committed against the Guru Granth Sahib and was rejected by the Centre then as being religion-specific. Hence, the new government has included the religious texts of all religions to get it through.

Considering the existing law on this matter, the proposed amendment is not required at all and will set a highly dangerous trend. A reading of the existing section 295 will show why there is no need to insert 295AA. Sec. 295 reads “Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defile¬ment as an insult to their religion, shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”

The above definition prescribes punishment for destroying, damaging or defiling both “place of worship” or “any object held sacred.” The law will consider religious texts as proposed in Sec 295AA to be objects held sacred. Then what is the need to insert a new section? If the legislators thought that the punishment prescribed was too low, they could have enhanced it to seven years or even longer. The Punjab government is agitated over the issue as there were many incidents in the state where torn and damaged pages of the Guru Granth Sahib were thrown at many places. But the existing law is enough to punish the culprits. The problem is in catching them and producing them before the law. Keeping in mind the fact that certainty and not the severity of punishment acts as deterrent to crime, the government should work on apprehending the culprits instead of prescribing draconian punishment.