IPC (Punjab Amendment) Act, 2018

Why in news?

Punjab Assembly unanimously passed a bill for an amendment to the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure to make desecration of all religious texts punishable with life imprisonment. The Primary aim being to curb sacrilege. The amendments would need the assent of the President.

What is the amendment about?

On August 28, 2018, the Punjab Legislative Assembly passed the Indian Penal Code (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018 and the Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018 to introduce amendments to the Indian Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure (applicable only in the state of Punjab) that make committing sacrilege against certain religious texts punishable with life imprisonment.

The stated aim of the amendment is “taking a major step towards curbing such incidents of sacrilege and maintaining communal harmony in the state.”

Central Act (IPC)

Section 295A of IPC - Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs

  • Intention- Deliberately and maliciously intending to outrage the religious feelings of any class of [citizens of India],
  • How - by words, either spoken or written or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise],
  • Act - insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class.
  • Punishment - imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

Section 295 of IPC - Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class.—

  • Act - Destroying, damaging or defiling any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons
  • Intention - insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defile­ment as an insult to their religion,
  • Punishment - imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

IPC (Punjab Amendment)

  • Imprisonment for life: The IPC (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018, has inserted Section 295AA to provide that “whoever causes injury, damage or sacrilege to Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Srimad Bhagavad Gita, the Holy Quran and the Holy Bible with the intention to hurt the religious feelings of the people shall be punished with imprisonment for life.
  • Amendment in Section 295: It also states, In the IPC, 1860, in its application to the State of Punjab in Section 295, for the words “two years” the words “10 years” shall be substituted.

Legal Position

  • Both Parliament and State have the power to amend the Indian Penal Code since Criminal law including procedural laws is in Concurrent list (List 3, Entry 1).
  • Article 254 concerns cases where there is an inconsistency between laws made by Parliament and laws made by the Legislatures of States on the same subject matter.
    If any provision of a law made by the Legislature of a State is repugnant to any provision of a law made by Parliament or to any provision of an existing law with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent List, then the law made by Parliament (whether passed before or after the law made by the Legislature of such State)/the existing law, shall prevail and the law made by the Legislature of the State shall, to the extent of the repugnancy, be void

  • Also where a law made by the Legislature of a State with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent List contains any provision repugnant to the provisions of an earlier law made by Parliament or an existing law with respect to that matter, then, the law so made by the Legislature of such State shall, if it has been reserved for the consideration of the President and has received his assent, prevail in that State.
  • Also, there is no prohibition on Parliament to enact at any time any law with respect to the same matter including a law adding to, amending, varying or repealing the law so made by the Legislature of the State.
  • As the passage of act such as Indian Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure requires only a simple majority and President's assent, the amendments to the IPC and Cr.PC by a state will require a simple majority and President's assent. In the Present case, Punjab Assembly has passed the bill, and currently, the bill is awaiting President's assent.

MCQ'S

 

1. Which of the following statements is/are correct with regard to the power of State to amend Central laws?

 

  1. Both Parliament and State have the power to amend the Central laws as provided under the Concurrent list (Schedule 7)
  2. In case of conflict between the Law made by the Parliament and the State, the law made by State shall prevail and the law made by the Parliament shall, to the extent of the repugnancy, be void
  3. In case of a law made by the Legislature of a State with respect to the Concurrent List and which is repugnant to the provisions Parliament law then, the law so made by the Legislature of such State shall, if it has been reserved for the consideration of the President and has received his assent, prevail in that State.

Select the correct answer using the code given below. 

(a) 1 and 3 only.
(b) 1 and 2 only.
(c) 2 and 3 only.
(d) 1, 2 and 3 only.

2. Which among the following items falls in the Concurrent list (7th Schedule, List III) ?

  1. Criminal law, including all matters included in the Indian Penal Code at the commencement of this Constitution but excluding offences against laws with respect to any of the matters specified in List I or List II and excluding the use of naval, military or air forces or any other armed forces of the Union in aid of the civil power.
  2. Criminal procedure, including all matters included in the Code of Criminal Procedure at the commencement of this Constitution.
  3. Preventive detention for reasons connected with the security of a State, the maintenance of public order, or the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community; persons subjected to such detention.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 and 3 only.
(b) 1 and 2 only.
(c) 2 and 3 only.
(d) 1, 2 and 3 only.

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