Punjab Government To Make Sacrilege Punishable With Life Term
Decision to make sacrilege of religious text punishable crime was taken at a meeting chaired by CM Amarinder Singh.
The Punjab Cabinet on Tuesday, 21 August, approved amendments to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to make sacrilege of religious texts punishable with life imprisonment.
The government has taken a major step towards curbing such incidents and maintaining communal harmony in the state, an official spokesperson said.
The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, he said.
"The Cabinet has approved insertion of section 295AA to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to provide that - whoever causes injury, damage or sacrilege to Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Srimad Bhagwad Geeta, Holy Quran and Holy Bible with the intention to hurt the religious feelings of the people, shall be punished with imprisonment for life," the spokesperson said.
The Cabinet has okayed the withdrawal of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the Indian Penal Code (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2016, passed in the 12th Session of 14th Vidhan Sabha, 2016, he said.
It has given its nod to the introduction of 'The Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018 and the Indian Penal Code (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018, in the ensuing session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the spokesperson said.
The Cabinet also approved a series of other bills to be tabled before the Assembly in the forthcoming session, he added.
Significantly, the Punjab Assembly in 2016, when the previous SAD-BJP government was in power, had passed the Indian Penal Code (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2016 and Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2016. The amendments at that time were brought to seek life imprisonment for sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib.
However, later, the Centre reportedly raised objection to the amendment, asking the state that the punishment of life imprisonment could not be limited to desecration of holy book of just one religion instead it should be for all religions.
Punjab witnessed some incidents of sacrilege in recent years and it also became and election issue in the Assembly polls last year.
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