25/04/2017 Editorial Simplified 0 comment

24th April 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 24th Day of April 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers.

The Hindu

Editorial : Tale of two sections

Context:

A case had been filed against MS Dhoni under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code for appearing in the likeness of a deity on the cover of a magazine.

Important Points:

  • The Supreme Court while exempting MS Dhoni from appearance during proceedings resorted to the interpretation given to Section 295A by a Constitution Bench in 1957, that it only “punishes the aggravated form of insult to religion when it is perpetrated with the deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of that class”.
  • At a time when the country is at its most sensitive and ready to take offence at the slightest bit, it is time the lower courts stop taking cognizance of such trivial or vexatious cases filed on the grounds of being offensive to religion, caste, community, cultural group.
  • A similar provision is section 153A of the Indian Penal Code that seeks to punish those who promote enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence and language, and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony.
  • This has been misused to harass writers and artists and cast a chill on free expression.
  • These laws, albeit secular in nature because they apply to all religions, are highly subjective in nature. There is no guessing what will cause insult/offence to a community and what the judge will find scandalous.
  • Both of them being misused, overused and the arbitrariness in their use lead to something called a “marketplace of outrage” — an economy that feeds on anger and hostility.
  • What we need is for them to be read down, their scope narrowed in a way that moral vigilantes and those who claim to be emotional victims can no longer exploit the law to serve their narrow chauvinistic ends.

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