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Dharma As Law And Justice: Increasing Religious Crimes In India

The greatest ideal of human existence is considered to be Dharma and law which serves justice.- Lavanya Ajaykumar Panicker

In ancient India, the concept of dharma evolved. Dharma is a Sanskrit noun derived from the prefix 'dhr' that deals with obligation, spirituality, religion and the everlasting nature of a thing or orders, that is the ethical behaviour of righteous man. Dharma literally means 'something that maintains or supports'.

The Greek term ethos[1] has a conceptual analogue in Dharma. Dharma is the Indian interpretation of natural law, as it was viewed by Indians in ancient times. Dharma is defined as all that is true, equitable, and ethical. Dharma is concerned with the wellbeing of the state and, in particular, its citizens. This article talks about various aspect of religion crimes in spite of the origin of dharma.

The term enshrined in our constitution known as Secularism, is ingrained in Indian culture, and religious freedom is a vital right guaranteed to all Indian residents. Religion is the most essential component of almost every Indian's life, in fact, religion is a vital aspect of life for the majority of the world's people. The Indian constitution and many other laws safeguard religious beliefs, but they also provide provisions for punishing anyone who violate such laws. Religion is a touchy subject since it affects not just a person's principles but also his or her emotions and background.

Why Hate Crimes?

  1. With over 1.3 billion inhabitants, India is the world's second-largest country and the birthplace of four major global religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. In India, which is the world's third-largest country after Indonesia and Pakistan[2], there are around 180 million Muslims. There is also a small Christian minority of around 30 million people here. India is a multi-ethnic country with 22 official languages and hundreds more ethnic groupings. The sum total of religious, moral, social, and legal responsibilities and obligations is known as religious laws. Religious bigotry is a form of violence directed towards people of other faiths. Violent act is described as an act influenced by bigotry or intolerance for a specific ethnicity, race, national origin, gender, religion, handicap, or sexual orientation. Criminal acts done with a prejudice motive are known as hate crimes. It is this motive that distinguishes hate crimes from other types of crimes.
  2. Seven of India's 29 states have enacted the Freedom of Religion Act, sometimes recognized as anti-conversion legislation. These anti-conversion laws prohibit conversion via the use of coercion, intimidation, or any other deceptive methods; anybody participating in such a conversion shall be prosecuted. However, exclusionary actions targeting minorities have developed as a result of these legislation. The Indian constitution makes no reference as to whether "the right to freedom of conversion" is linked to "the right to freedom of religion" within article 25.
  3. Approximately 67 percent of the nation's 4,78,600 convicts are Hindu, while roughly 18 percent are Muslim. Despite India's widely accepted and religiously diverse constitution, widespread religious characterization in various aspects of society, along with the administering, the transformation purported by regulatory organizations such as the National Human Rights Commission of India as well as the National Commission for Minorities, and the subsurface work completed by non-legislative organisations, intermittent and at times genuine demonstrations of religious brutality will occur in general.

Indian Penal Code

The Indian Penal Code's Chapter XV comprises five sections: Section 295, Section 295A, Section 296, Section 297, and Section 298. Religion-related offences can be roughly divided into three categories:
  1. Desecration of places of worship or revered things (Section 295 and 297).
  2. Provoking or injuring people's religious sensibilities (Section 295A and 298).
  3. Religious gatherings that are inconvenient (Section 296).

India is a secular republic with a 'right to religion' guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. The Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 295 to 298 deal with religious offences and their penalty. No one is allowed to offend anyone's religious beliefs or any religious sacred item. The Indian Penal Code outlines the consequences if this occurs.

Debasement of sites and sacred items of any religion, insulting religious sensibilities, and interrupting religious assemblies and religious rites are the three basic kinds of religious offences. The protection of religious rights in Indian law is structured in this fashion.

Ramji Lal Modi Vs The State Of U.P [3]

While upholding the validity of the section, the Supreme Court stated that insults to religion delivered inadvertently or carelessly, or without any intentional or premeditated purpose to offend the religious emotions of that class, do not fall under the clause. As a result, when an insult or attempt to insult a religion or religious belief is done with the goal of outraging the religious emotions of a class of Indian citizens, only the provisions of Section 295A will be used.

Tolerance, equality, kindness, and fraternity were advocated by all religions, including Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, and Buddhism.

"On the off chance that these occurrences are not curtailed, they would cause chaos." India is a multicultural society, and everyone has the same aim of living and practicing his faith freely. They can be stopped, but political will is required, which the current administration lacks. Activists, on the other hand, believe that the deployment of a hotline will aid exploited persons in obtaining genuine responses. Religious minority in India are facing a slew of problems.

To ensure that everyone recognizes the right to freedom of religion or conviction, India must implement a severe and comprehensive response. Religiously motivated cruelty or brutality towards religious minorities should be thoroughly investigated, and the perpetrators brought to justice.

  1. Brereton, Joel P. (2004) "Dh�rman in the Ṛgveda". Journal of Indian Philosophy 32: 449�89.
  2. Kronstadt K. Alan, India: Religious Freedom Issues, Congressional Research Service, August 2018 (Apr 29 2020, 19:55 IST)
  3. 1957 AIR 620, 1957 SCR 860

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