Tripura HC: Careless Insults to Religion Without Malicious Intention Not An Offence
A Single Bench of Chief Justice Akil Kureshi, Tripura High Court has held that insults to religion made unwittingly/ without any deliberate or malicious intention to outrage the religious feelings of a class would not amount to an offence under Section 295A of IPC.
Section 295A of IPC, 1860 states as under:
Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of [citizens of India], [by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise], insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 4[three years], or with fine, or with both.]
In the present case (Dulal Ghosh v. State of Tripura & Ors), the High Court held,
"Section 295A does not penalize any and every act of insult or an attempt to insult the religion or the religious beliefs but it penalizes only those acts of insults or attempts which have been perpetrated with the deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of a particular class."
While quashing the FIR, the Single Judge Bench of Chief Justice Akil Kureshi added,
"The petitioner can hold his personal beliefs and within the framework of law can also express them, as long as he does not transgress any of the restrictions imposed by law to the freedom of his speech and expression."
In this respect, it becomes significant to note that the Supreme Court has also, in a large number of cases held that insults to religion offered unwittingly or carelessly or without any deliberate or malicious intention to outrage the religious feelings of that class do not come within this section.