The Goa bench of the Bombay High Court overturned an FIR against a musician who was accused of allegedly outraging the religious beliefs of Christians. The court ruled that the charges did not disclose the commission of an offense under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
What was the case?
In June of this year, Clafasio Dias, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Goa, filed a complaint against musician Alison Gomes, 22, for allegedly insulting the beliefs of the Christian community through a song “Dongi MLA” released. on Youtube.
Subsequently, an FIR was registered against Gomes under section 295-A (deliberate acts intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulting their religion or religious beliefs) and section 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC).
Dias ‘attorney, Kaif Noorani, argued that Gomes’ actions were deliberate and that he had malicious intent to hurt and outrage the religious sentiments of the Christian community in Goa as well as across the country. international.
What did the court say?
A bench of judges SP Deshmukh and MS Sonak held that even if the allegations are genuine or not, they do not reveal the commission of an offense falling under section 295A of the IPC. In such circumstances, the court held that allowing the police authorities to investigate further would amount to an abuse of criminal process.
“Mere incantation of phrases such as ‘to hurt and outrage the religious feelings of the Christian community with deliberate and malicious intent’ does not spell out the ingredients of IPC Article 295-A,” the court said in his prescription.
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Citing a previous High Court order, the judiciary observed that the police should be sensitive to such matters because what is at stake is freedom of speech and expression itself. Also in this case, the court quashed the FIR against the members of a music group, the judiciary said.
The judiciary observed that the allegations could at most relate to the fact that Dias had undertaken certain activities contrary to his religious beliefs, but nothing suggested “scandalous religious feelings”.
“The alleged outrage of any sentiment of Dias or the insults or alleged attempts to insult him is not the same as to insult the religious feelings of Christians in general or to insult or attempt to insult the Christian religion or beliefs Christian nuns, in particular, observed the bench.
Lawyer Kaif Noorani, representing Clafasio Dias, argued that the complaint revealed at least prima facie the ingredients of the offense punishable under Article 500 of the IPC to which the court conceded. However, the police did not have the jurisdiction to register an FIR against an unidentifiable offense or to undertake investigations without the magistrate’s order.
The court clarified that Clafasio Dias was free to initiate appropriate prosecutions in connection with his allegations against Gomes relating to an offense under Article 500 of the IPC.
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