Madras High Court: G.R. Swaminathan, J., quashed an FIR stating that S. 295-A IPC is attracted only if there is deliberate and malicious intent to outrage the religious beliefs of a particular class.

Petitioner wanted this Court to quash the FIR registered for the offence under Section 295-A of the Penal Code, 1860

Petitioner was a religious leader. It was stated that Arulmighu Bagavathi Amman Temple in Mandaikadu was a well-known temple and recently, witnessed a fire accident.

The question that arose in view of the above incident was with regard to how the restoration measures should be taken.

Petitioner opined that,

“…there is no need to go for what is known as Deva Prasanam and that steps must be taken by the Tamil Nadu Government to bring the temple under Tamil traditions. The opinion expressed by the petitioner was published in newspapers also.”

Defacto complainant found the above stated to be highly objectionable and caused the registration of the impugned FIR. As per the de facto complainant, the petitioner had stated that the temple was cemetery of a mentally retarded girl who belonged to a particular community, though no material was placed by the de facto complainant in support of the said allegation.

When can Section 295-A IPC be attracted?

The above-said Section can be attracted only if there is deliberate and malicious intent to outrage the religious beliefs of a particular class.

Bench stated that the petitioner was entitled to express his opinion and the same is duly protected by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.

Petitioner’s counsel rightly relied on the Supreme Court decision in Khushboo v. Kaniammal, (2010) 5 SCC 600 and in S. Tamilselvan v. Government of Tamil Nadu, 2016 SCC OnLine Mad 5960.

Hence, the registration of the impugned FIR was unwarranted and stands quashed. [Balaprajapathy Adikalar v. Inspector of Police, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 7240, decided on 20-12-2021]

Advocates before the Court:

For Petitioner: Mr T. Lajapathi Roy for Mr S. Rajasekar

For Respondents: Mr E. Antony Sahaya Prabahar Additional Public Prosecutor for R.1

Mr K. Rajeshwaran for R.2

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