Misuse of Section 295A as a weapon against the content on OTT Platforms – 2

TANDAV AND OTHER OTT– Look at the example of Tandav- a web series starring Saif Ali Khan which created lots of controversies in the whole society. It showed scenes which maligned the image of Hindu Religion and the web series was accused of insulting Hindu Gods. Three sections were charged against the web series in order for insulting the Hindu Gods and hurting the sentiments of the community. These Sections were as follows-  Section 153A of IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language), 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) 505(1)(B) (statements conducting to public mischief) and Section 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) . So OTT has become a platform where just for the sake of gaining fame and name, the level can be deteriorated at such level where the beliefs and faiths of people of different religion can be maligned, sentiments being hurt and many other things.

Other OTT platforms which annoyed the viewers are Ludo, A Suitable Boy (showcasing a kiss between a Hindu girl and a Muslim inside a Temple), Laxmii Bomb, Pataal Lok (hurting the sentiments of Sikh Community) and many more which showed controversial views which hurt the sentiments among people of different religions. VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) even demanded ban on these platforms in order to safeguard the interests of the Hindu Religion. There are lots of Hindu phobic contents which are being shown in certain web series. ‘Liberals’ will scream murder of free speech and rising intolerance. Those on the other side will say it about time the government did something against a continuing assault on Hindu Sentiments. Bollywood is the main culprit behind all these as they show contents which would offend the people especially from Hindu Religion and the Right Wing.

Munawar Faruqui, a comedian was recently booked under Section 295 A for allegedly insulting Hindu Deities and was denied bail. The incident made a lot of headlines all over the country and because of which there were widespread protest and criticism because of the incident. Many scholars, lawyers and artists together made an appeal to the government on the re discussion on the tenability of Section 295 A and to consider its alarming implications on the entertainment industry.

 SECTION 295A IMPORTANCEChapter XV of the Indian Penal Code contains the majority of the provisions for offences relating to religion. The most significant of all of them is SECTION 295A which is used prominently in cases where an offence against religion is involved. Later, it is found that it muzzles a citizen’s right of free speech in the garb of protecting religious feelings; therefore, it becomes vital to have renewed discussions on this provision and its tenability in the present.

NEED FOR SECTION 295 A AND INDIA’S COMPARISON WITH THE WORLDSection 295 A was not even present in the Indian Penal Code at the time of its enactment. In Rajpaul v Emperor was the catalyst for the enactment of this provision which was during pre-independence time. The case was filed against an accused who had published a pamphlet entitled ‘Rangila Rasul’. The pamphlet contained the portrayal of the Central figure of Islam Religion namely Prophet Mohammed. The pamphlet characterized Prophet Mohammed as a person who was sexually inconsistent.

At that time, SECTION 295A was not in the statute book, and the case was filed under SECTION 153A of the Indian Penal Code. The accused was convicted under Section 153A because at that SECTION 295A was not present. The Lahore High Court, in this regard gave the judgment and reversed the decision of magistrate court where the accused was convicted under SECTION 153A. The Lahore High Court held that the ambit of SECTION 153A is only limited to prevent attacks on particular community.

 In another famous case of ‘Mahendra Singh Dhoni v Yerraguntla Shyamsundar’ the Supreme Court of India an FIR against Mahendra Singh Dhoni for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of people when an image of him being portrayed as Lord Vishnu was published in a magazine with a caption ”God of Big Deals. Other case laws related to SECTION 295A are Hindu Dharma Sakthi v Govt of India, Lal Singh v State of Uttrakhand, Shalibhadra Shah and Others v Swami Krishna Bharati and Another, Paresh Nath v State of Jhrkhand and Anr and many other case laws where people have been accused of maligning the images of faiths of other religions and portraying and making mockery of their gods, goddesses etc. In India, the cases related to misuse of SECTION 295-A.



Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

You may also like to read:

Definition of Industry 2 – Aishwarya Sandeep

Voting Rights USA – Part 2 – Aishwarya Sandeep

Indian Villages – the strength of India – Aishwarya Sandeep


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