In a diverse democracy of India, where there are a lot of social system who live and survive
together, follow certain ethical and moral rules, which are uniform to everyone's religious
teachings that is, to recognize and respect other's sacred beliefs and to show benevolence to other's
religion or in what-so-ever subject.
Starting from person's status to his religion. Everything should
be respected. This sense makes India a unified nation, even being divided into various diversities.
But certain fringe elements, fail to obey and fail to limit themselves in the boundaries of such
ethical rules. As we talk about insulting someone's religion and connected beliefs.
elements misuse their freedom of speech and expression and overuse their right to offend. In this blog, we will talk about what is the concept of insulting someone's religious and sacred beliefs
called, how it originated in India, how it became a legal concept and how legal provisions
connected to it are actually misused. This blog's material is prepared using doctrinal research
Do Gods care about what mere human beings say about them? Nobody has ever meet God, so no
one knows the fact. It's the followers who become protector of their God, that they pray to and
that causes complications and this is what leads to concepts like blasphemy. Blasphemy is when
you insult my religious feeling or I insult yours or somebody insults/disrespects somebody's
religious feeling, this implies you are blaspheming my God, my holy religion and my holy
It is not a new concept, it existed since human origin and since belief in to God and since their
belief in God and concept of religion developed. The word Blasphemy came via middle English
"blasfemen", old French "blasfamer" and late Latin "blasphemare" where "Blas" meant to injure
and "phemy" meant utterance, talk and speech.
Today the most important thing is what is happening in the name of protests, which broke out on
June 11, 2022 and spread in large parts of the country, particularly after Friday prayers. Quite a bit
of anger was seen in Gulf countries also. The central government even took actions by suspending
the alleged blasphemers from their party just to pour oil over the troubled waters.
community was also angry and demanded the arrest of the alleged accused. This massive outbreak
was seen when the community members actively became violent. This triggered one thing in their
mind that India has Blasphemy laws.
We also hear about blasphemy laws in Pakistan as well, we hear the cases like Asiya Bibi, who
was given Death sentence for which she was convicted for Blaspheming the holy Prophet. Her
action took her life.
Blasphemy Laws in India
India being a diverse country and with ample of religion, also have some kinds of blasphemy laws,
which don't use the term directly, but mean the same, they can be easily understood by a little
- Section 295 of Indian Penal Code:
According to Section 295 of the I.P.C, anyone found guilty of destroying, damaging, or defiling a
house of worship or a sacred object with the aim to disparage the faith of a group of people faces
up to two years in prison, a fine, or a combination of the two. To oblige people to respect the
religious sensitivities of people of different religious persuasions or creeds, this clause has been
- Section 295A of Indian Penal Code.
The purpose of Section 295A is to prohibit intentional and malicious conduct meant to offend any
class's religious sentiments by shielding their religion or religious beliefs. Only when an
aggravated form of insult to religion is committed with the purposeful and malicious goal of
upsetting the religious sentiments of a class is it punishable under this clause.
There was a major verdict of the Apex court, which somehow tries to explain the applicability of
section 295A, which was in the case of Mahendra Singh Dhoni v. Yerraguntla Shyamsundar and
Another, in which the Supreme Court held that the section does not criminalize every act which
insults or attempts to insult religious sentiments. It only criminalizes those acts which are
intentional as well as malicious in nature.
Additionally, there have been numerous constitutional defenses of blasphemy laws, including
Ramji Lal Modi v. State of Uttar Pradesh. The five-judge panel in this case upheld the legality of
section 295A. The defendant, Mr. Ramji Lal, served as the magazine's editor. He was accused of
posting articles that were offensive to religion. According to Mr. Ramji Lal, his right to free
expression is properly protected by article 19 (1) (a) of the constitution, and as a result, his content
is likewise protected by the same provision.
- Section 153A of Indian Penal Code.
The intent of Section 153 A is to punish those who engage in willful denigration of or attacks on
any particular group or class, as well as its founders and prophets, or on grounds of race, religion,
nationality, place of birth, domicile, or language. The scope of this Section is expanded to include
the propagation of hostility, animosity, hatred, or other negative emotions toward other castes,
communities, racial groups, or ethnicities. In this section, the offence of moral turpitude is also
The offence is a cognizable offence, and the maximum sentence is three years in prison,
a fine, or a combination of the two. This section too falls under the category of Blasphemy Laws.
Origin, Reality & Misuse of Provisions
A major incident in the British era took place where in the mid-1920s and Arya Samajist writer
wrote a book called "Ranglia Rasool", referring to the holy prophet which Muslims found
offensive. He was then assassinated and the murderer was hailed as a hero. In order to correct this
loophole British introduced section 295A. It was previously to prevent publication of books like
that or articles, cartoons, speech etc. were also covered. Section 295A has been in the books since
Since the acts end the sections state that's the offense is cognizable and non-bailable, it can be
misused at a great deal because it's for any plaintiff to say that whatever somebody said I felt
insulted. Example, Raj Kapoor film song, "Kaafir Sharab", raised a philosophical point which in
today's world may sound offensive and can be traced as an offence under blasphemy. Amir Khan's
P.K. also faced huge backlash from all religious communities. Section 295A is open to all kinds
of interpretation, due to which many cases around can be easily called as an offense under this
Restrictions on Freedom of Speech
Any person can take good defense of his freedom of speech as against his blasphemous remark.
However, when the constitution of India got passed, Article 19; which gives us the freedom of
speech and expression got amended. It was the First Amendment in the constitution. The event
laid some reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech. Section 295, 295A, 153 and 505 of the
Indian Penal Code are these reasonable restrictions. A 5 judge bench of Supreme Court in 1957
upheld the following restrictions.
Role of Right to Offend
A deep role in the case of blasphemy incidents is played by a so-called negative right which is
right to offend. One of the rights under the freedom of speech and expression, under Article 19 is
right to offend. It is the right to voice one's opinion on a subject which is protected. When a
viewpoint is expressed on contentious issues or any sensitive matter, there is a chance that someone
may take it as an offence. It is quite similar and related to blasphemy.
However, rather than being
as an insulting praise, it should be viewed as an opinion the problem with such a viewpoint is that
only certain individuals or community members could find it offensive. Those who voice their
ideas on those issues may not find it disrespectful.
But then comes the famous quote, "The right to offend is universal you can give as much offense
to the person as the other person is willing to take.
Sections governing blasphemy laws in India are quite mild but it's deterrent. This needs to be
respected because India needs to have social cohesion. Under the provisions there is no right to
offend Hindus, Muslims, seeks and any other religion in existence.
Blasphemy is itself a large intellectual debate and India does not need a new blasphemy law
because as according to times of now report the introduction of any stricter laws in addition to the
current ones may increase frivolous litigation. Provisions in their IPC are considered just fair and
enough to tackle the offences against religion and hate speech.