• Legis Scriptor

Religious law and Religious crime

Authored By- Shaik Lalbee

Keywords- Secularism, constitutional right, religious crimes, religious institutions, civil liberties, ethical systems, socio-cultural factors, religious violence, Intentional and malicious acts, conscious intention.


Secularism is an integral part of India, and religious freedom is a constitutional right granted to all Indian people. Religion is the most important aspect of most Indians, seeing religion as an important aspect, in most of the world's population. The Indian constitution and several other laws state that religious conviction is protected but, it is filled to provide justice for those who violate such rules. Religion is a delicate subject that requires not just a person's values, but also an individual's personality and background. Some change occurs, as the shortcomings are recognized and fixed. Crime in religion is, unfortunately, a daily occurrence around our world, whereas millions are unaware of it.[1] Religious crimes date back through ancient times and, since mankind can remember, they were a global problem. Luckily, several countries have opened their doors and, people have become asylum. Although, others are the sources of those persecutions, because their states lack a legal system that prohibits these atrocities against faiths.

Religious law

Religion is the very foundation of human life which not only follows a belief but is also a way of living because the followers of a particular religion follow a definite kind of livelihood, and with this moral obligation to follow certain rules, religion enters the boundaries of law whereby a person is obliged to follow or not break the rules decided by a state. It is also quite clear that the law and religion are dependent on each other because citizens were required to fulfil religious duty before the definition of state or democracy, and therefore claim religious rights. Thus, religion played a very important role in the maintenance of law, and order in ancient cultures in numerous parts of the world. Religious law includes rules of ethics and morality code which are learned by faith.[2]

It encompasses Christian Canon Law, Islamic Sharia Law, Jewish Halakha, Buddhism, Jainism, and Hindu Law.

The two most emblematic structures, Christian law, and Islamic law are fundamentally different in such a way that Christian law is founded on a codified Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox law, whereas Islamic law is drawn from a variety of sources which include analogical reasoning and legal consensus.

Religious crime

Religious crime is a term describing where either religion is the source or the object of criminal activity. Religious crime is the offence inspired by religious precepts, laws, or beliefs, or in their reaction. This includes criminality against religious institutions, people, objects, or events when the crime is motivated to some extent by some religious aspect of the target or by the attacker's precepts. The activities committed by religious groups do not apply to religious offences. Which contains crimes perpetrated against religious communities by secular groupings. Crime is a very broad concept and it's hard to explain because it can be used against non-human objects as well.[3] It describes a variety of perceptions such as death and destruction, significant abuse, forcing civil liberties, passionate behaviour or language, or emotional responses such as fury and passion.

Considering that crime is universally undesirable, religions, ethical systems, and societies rarely promote crime as an end in itself. Around the same time, there is a common conflict between the overall urge to stop crime and abuse and allowing justifiable uses of abuse to deter a "greater evil" that permeates every society. Religious crime is a context-dependent and very complex cultural process.[4]

Religious crime is the principal realm of the "characters" of violence and can discriminate between human and social modes of criminality. Overall, for a variety of reasons, religious crime is accomplished and is generally only one of the contributing socio-cultural factors that result in unrest. Religious crime also suggests that criminality is motivated not by moral worldviews but by ethnic hatred. The question arises to what extent a conflict has religious, political, economic, or ethnic dimensions significant.

The basic idea of "religion" is a new creation, and not common across cultures or history, rendering "religious violence" a fallacy. Since all cases of violence and conflict include religious, political, and economic aspects and since there is no consensus among the disciples on concepts of "religion" and no means of isolating "religion" from the other motivating aspects, it is false to mark any violent incident or violence as "Faithful."

Legal provisions of religious crime in India

Section 153A of the IPC, notes that someone who encourages violence between various religious communities and performs actions, harmful to maintaining peace will face penalties. Whoever,

  1. Either spoken or written words or signs or visual symbols or otherwise encourage discord between religions or feelings of enmity or animosity, dislike, or unwillingness between different religions. Or

  2. Commits any act that is harmful to the preservation of harmony between different religions and that disturbs or is likely to disturb public calm shall be punished with imprisonment that may extend to three years, or with fines or both.

Section IPC 295A: Section 295A is meant for Intentional and malicious acts to offend the sentiments of every individual by insulting their faith or religious convictions. Anyone who intentionally and maliciously aims to offend the religious feelings of any class of Indian person through phrases, signals, or obvious symbols offensive tries to insult certain faiths or religious values of that group shall be punished with imprisonment for any duration of up to 3 years or with fine or the two. The clause was ruled constitutionally legitimate in Ramji Lal Modi v. State of Uttar Pradesh;[5] its constitutionality under Article 19 was upheld by the Supreme Court's five-judge bench. That means a seven-judge bench is required now to make it unconstitutional. Rendering it unconstitutional means it should have a good, exciting cause to have.

IPC Section 298: Anyone who utters words with a purposeful intent to harm another person's religious feelings will be prosecuted under this clause. Anyone who, with the conscious intention of injuring any person's religious sentiments, utters another word or sounds in that person's ears or makes another sound motion in the sight of that person or locations, any object in the sight of that person shall be punished with imprisonment of any type for one year, or with fine, or both.[6]


Modern law and religion are important social and political processes that have certain hidden elements in common. Constitutional law and faith are thus parallel, incompatible, and overlapping forms of rule-making, adjudication, and compliance. They represent loyalty and responsibilities, government, organizations, and legal philosophy and their preservation and propagation as pillars, based on a rigid command system. The reality to be said in India is that such religious offences are easily taken and nowadays recognition of such offences is very casual. Violence is becoming a part of ordinary life in the name of religion. In India, also, the persecution of minorities and hate crimes is growing. Despite the technological growth of the 21st century that amuses us, cybercrimes are already being committed with hatred. In social media, most hate crimes are focused on children, politics, and religion. The youth of today must evolve into a human subject matter.

[1]Berman, Harold J. Law and Revolution, pg. 86 & pg. 115. [2] "Canon law". Catholic Encyclopaedia. [3] "Crime in India 2018 : Volume 1" [4]"Canon law". Catholic Encyclopaedia. [5]1957 AIR 620. [6]The Indian Penal Code, 1860.