December 6, 2023
court hammer books judgment law concept


Section 295 (IPC) is a provision that deals with the offence of injuring or defiling a place of worship, religious object, or any sacred object. This article aims to provide an in-depth understanding of IPC Section 295, its history, interpretation, and recent controversies surrounding it.

History and Evolution of Section 295 IPC

Section 295 IPC was first introduced in the IPC in 1860 by the British colonial government. It was a part of the section on “Offences against Religion” and was titled “Injuring or Defiling Place of Worship with Intent to Insult the Religion of Any Class.”

The Section  295 IPC states that-

“whoever intentionally destroys, damages, or defiles any place of worship or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of insulting the religion of that class shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or both.”

In 1927, the section was amended to include the words “or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defilement as an insult to their religion.” This amendment was made to broaden the scope of the section and make it more comprehensive. And it has been made clear that the element of mens rea is quintessential to constitute an offence under this section.

Section 295 IPC Punishment

The punishment for offence under Section 295 IPC is-

  • imprisonment for a term which may extend up to two years
  • Or fine
  • Or both

IPC Section 295 bailable or not? IPC Section 295 cognizable or not?

Section 295 IPC is

  • Cognizable
  • Non-bailable

Important Supreme Court Cases on Section 295 IPC

  • Over the years, Section 295 IPC has been the subject of several legal battles in the Indian courts. The Supreme Court has played a crucial role in interpreting and clarifying the scope and applicability of this section. Some of the landmark cases related to Section 295 IPC are as follows:
  • Ramji Lal Modi v. The State of Uttar Pradesh (1957)

In this case, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of Section 295A IPC, which deals with deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings. The court held that this section does not violate the right to freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in Article 19 the Indian Constitution. It stated that the section only penalizes acts that have a tendency to disrupt public order and harmony and not mere criticism of religious beliefs.

  • Balbir Singh v. State of Punjab (1995)

In this case, the Supreme Court held that Section 295 is not limited to protecting the feelings of one particular religious community but applies to all religions equally. The court stated that any act that is likely to hurt the religious feelings of any class of persons, irrespective of their religion, would fall under this section.

  • Jan mohammand v. Narsin Das (1883)

In this case, the accused who removed some old building material belonging to a mosque, which was in rotten condition and to which no one had particular claim was not held liable. As the accused had no intention and knowledge to insult the religion of the Mohammadean residents of that village.

  • Saidullah Khan v. State of Bhopal (1955)

 In this case the accused, a Mohamadean, threw a burning cigarette on the “viman”     carrying out by some Hindus. The cigarette didn’t hurt anyone but the accused was held liable under Section 295 IPC on the ground that viman was an object which was held to be sacred by the Hindus. The accused would be supposed to have knowledge that the Hindus were likely to consider such defilement as an insult to their religion.

Recent Controversies about Section 295 IPC

Despite the various provisions in the IPC like Section 295 IPC and other laws which tend to promote communal harmony in India, India witnesses a large number of cases pertaining to communal violence. Some of the notable controversies surrounding Section 295 IPC are- like Kamlesh Tiwari Murder case in 2019 or the arrest of Munawar Faruqui  in January 2021 for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Hindu deities.

Therefore, it is always not the enactment of law but the implementation of law also  becomes important.

Leave a Comment