Blasphemy - An Short Study Under Indian Scenario

Updated: Dec 8, 2019

In Simple Terms, Blasphemy is a word that means speaking badly about religion or insulting a god. Many countries with a state religion have laws that make blasphemy a crime. For example, blasphemy can be punished with the death penalty in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. In other countries,

the punishment for the crime is a fine, or imprisonment. So, A blasphemy law is a law prohibiting blasphemy, where blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence to a deity, or sacred things, or toward something considered sacred or inviolable.

India has a number of laws against hate speech that fall under the “reasonable restrictions” to freedom of expression permitted in the Indian Constitution. Specifically, Sections 124A, 153A, 153B, 292, 293, and 295A of the Indian Penal Code prohibit any words or representations that insult any individual’s or group’s religious beliefs, or that are meant to incite enmity against a particular religion.

The punishment for hate speech is a fine, imprisonment for up to three years or both. The act of blasphemy is criminalized in India by virtue of Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code [hereinafter S. 295A]. The section was enacted particularly to target speech that intended to outrage religious feelings by insulting religion or faith of the people. There existed a huge controversy regarding the constitutionality of the section. This controversy was resolved by the Supreme Court in Ramji Lal Modi v. State of U.P, where the court held that - section does not penalize every act of insult to or attempt to ‘insult the religion or the religious beliefs of a class of citizens but it penalizes only those acts of insults to or those varieties of attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of a class of citizens, which are perpetrated with the deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of that class.

Instances of Blasphemy

  • Burning a religious document such as the Bible or the Quran is considered blasphemy.

  • Vandalizing a church is a form of blasphemy.

  • Worshipping Satan is blasphemous.

  • Committing suicide is a form of blasphemy.

  • To state that God is unkind, unjust or cruel is blasphemous.

What Not is Blasphemy?

In Mahendra Singh Dhoni v. Yerraguntla Shyamsundar, a case for allegedly harming the religious conclusions of individuals when a picture of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, being depicted as Lord Vishnu was distributed in a magazine with an inscription “Divine force of Big Deals”, the Court said that Section 295A IPC does not stipulate everything to be punished and any and each demonstration

would equivalent to affront or endeavor to affront the religion or the religious convictions of a class of subjects. It punishes just those demonstrations of the affront to or those assortments of endeavors to affront the religion or religious conviction of a class of natives that are executed with the pondering and vindictive goal of insulting the religious sentiments of that class of residents. The same reasoning was given by the apex court in The State Of Haryana And Ors vs Ch. Bhajan Lal And Ors.

Procedure to file a Blasphemy Case

  1. File an FIR

  2. Once you have filed an FIR, know that the Vakalatnama has to be filed because the lawyer or the advocate will need to represent you on your behalf.

  3. Investigation

  4. Laying of charges

  5. Inquiry

  6. Trial

Referred Websites - 1.





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