Defilement of Worship Places and Affronting Religious Sensitivity - IPC Section 295

Defilement of Worship Places and Affronting Religious Sensitivity - IPC Section 295

India has been a melting pot of different religions, ideologies, and beliefs with people holding such beliefs with a lot of dignity and pride. This introduces the liability upon the state to ensure that peace and harmony are maintained from the nuisance elements of the society, some who want to disrupt the tranquility amongst the people, by hurting their religious sensitivity. 

To prevent the same Indian Penal Code (IPC) has dedicated CHP 15 for offences relating to religion such as trespassing religious burial grounds, damage or defiling of religious places and objects, etc. Under the ambit of chapter 15 falls our concerning section 295. The progressive article is an attempt to elaborate and understand what is section 295 IPC. 

Section 295 IPC: Under chp 15 of IPC, section 295 states the punishment for vandalizing or defiling religious places with the intent to outrage religious sentiments of the people belonging to any class. The section reads as, anybody who with the aim to insult the religion or with the knowledge that his actions will insult any class's religious feelings, destroys, defiles or damages objects of worship or the religious place which is believed to be sacred by any class of people. 

Consult the best lawyer online

Thus this section makes such damage to religious places an offence and its subsequent punishment. 

The section involves two kinds of offences

  1. Firstly, the destruction or defiling of the sacred religious object of any class of people such as an idol of Lord Vishnu or the Shivalinga in the Lord Shiva temple or the fire well in Parsi temples, etc. Provided that the person has the intention to outrage the sentiments or had the knowledge that his actions are likely to lead to outrage. For instance, a woman throws dirty water on the idol of Lord Krishna which will hurt the sentiments of the believers. 

  2. Secondly, defiling or damage to the religious place such as temples, church, gurudwara, etc against the above-mentioned intention is essential. For instance, a man goes to vandalize a church or a mosque with the intention to destroy the same. 

Punishment under Section 295 IPC: For violation of IPC Section 295, the offender attracts imprisonment for a maximum period of 2 years or fine or both. 

According to IPC first schedule, the nature of section 295 IPC is as follows - 

  1. A non-bailable offence means that the accused of this offence does not have the right to claim bail but rather it is the discretion of the court to grant the same. 

  2. Cognizable offence means that the police don’t require a warrant which is often the case provided by the court, to arrest the accused for such offence. 

  3. A non-compoundable offence means it is a less serious offence that can be compromised, that is the complainant may take back the charges anytime against the accused without the intervention of the court. 

The offence under Section 295 is triable by any Magistrate. 

Ingredients of section 295 IPC

  1. Existence of an object or a religious place that is considered sacred by any class of people.

  2. Destruction or defilement or damage of such object or place. 

  3. Such destruction is done with the intent to hurt the religious sentiments or the accused had the knowledge that his actions would lead to the insult of their religion. 

Some famous judgments: The interpretation of section 295 is summed up into the following case. 

In S. Veerabadran Chettiar vs E. V. Ramaswami Naicker & Others 1958 AIR 1032 

Facts - The petitioner alleged that the accused had broken the idol of Lord Ganesh with the motive to insult religious sentiments of his community as well his. However, the trial magistrate, sessions court, and as well as the high court held that the breaking of this mud idol of Lord Ganesh was not an offence under IPC Section 295. This was further appealed in the apex court. 

The decision of apex court - 

  1. The lower courts had delivered an erroneous judgment and had wrong the interpretation of section 295. 

  2. It was observed that the court should give due regard to various religious sensitivity of people belonging to different classes and different beliefs irrespective of the opinion of the court or in accordance to the court's own rationale.

Dhondiba S/O Irba Namwad vs State Of Maharashtra, Bombay high court 2020

Facts - The petitioner alleged that the idols of Lord Ganesh were immersed in artificial tanks on account of saving the environment from the various pollutants use for making the idol however after the immersion of idols they were taken and dumped in garbage therefore intentionally hurting the sensitivity of his petitioner. 

Decision - The court found that none of the ingredients of section 295 IPC were not fulfilled prima facie. As the following ingredient was not proved, the accused has maliciously defiled the idol of Lord Ganesh, to outrage the sentiments of the concerned community. 

As the petitioner failed to showcase the malicious intent of the government to hurt the feelings of the community as disposal of Lord Ganesh idols were done in furtherance of protecting the water bodies from being polluted from the various pollutants used for making the idol. 

The FIR was quashed by the apex court and it further declared certain guidelines for the protection of the environment during the lord Ganesh festival in Maharashtra. 

The following case highlights the ingredients of section 295, State vs. Dharambir Etc. Delhi district court 2010

Facts - the accused were alleged to have attempted to destroy the Mazar of the peer which was considered sacred by the community of Auchandi and subsequently insulting their religious beliefs. An FIR was filed regarding the same. 

Decision - the court was of the view that the prosecution could not through the witnesses establish that any of the accused destroyed the Mazar or even attempted to, further there was no substantial evidence that would indicate that section 295 IPC was attracted in any way.

One of the ingredients that the destruction or damage had to be done of the accused was not proven thus failing to invoke IPC section 295.

How can you file your case for the IPC Section 327 offence?

  1. If there is a violation of Section 295 the concerned victim should first report the same to the nearest police station and lodge an FIR regarding the same without any cost. Or else for more convenience E- FIR can be filed since Section 295 is a cognizable offence

Steps for filing E - FIR is as follows - 

  1. Visit the local or concerned police's official website for instance

  2. On opening the website, click on the services option. 

  3. Once the services option has clicked a drop-down menu will appear and you have to click the nature of your case. 

  4. Once the category is selected, a new page is opened and now you have to provide the following information - 

a. Complainant name 

b. Mother or father name of complainant 

c. Complainant Email ID 

d. Date of incident 

e. Place of incident 

f. Time of incident 

g. Complainant phone number 

h. Any other relevant description of the case. 

  1. Lastly, after submission, you have to enter the captcha code on the form for confirmation. 

Note - before submission all the details should be rechecked and ensure that the email id is correct as the FIR for future reference will be sent to this mail ID. 

Get in touch with the best lawyer online

After the FIR the police may conduct an investigation and if there is any substantive evidence the accused can be arrested by the police without any warrant since it is a cognizable offence. And to the contrary, if no evidence is produced the matter is not proceeded with. 

If any substantial evidence is found a charge sheet is prepared by the police. 

After completion of the charge sheet the matter is pursued as a trial in the court with the prosecution establishing the ingredients of section 295 and if successfully done then the accused may be imposed with imprisonment up to 2 years or fine or both depending upon the discretion of the court. 

How can you defend your case for the IPC Section 327 offence?

  1. In the case of the accused, the accused can firstly apply for bail through a lawyer and since it is a non-bailable offence the bail will be a discretion power of the court to grant the same. 

  2. Further, the accused through a lawyer have to defend the matter and prove that there was no malicious intent of hurting the religious sentiments or did not damage their sacred religious objects or the places. 

How can Lawtendo help you? 

Lawtendo will connect you with domain-specific expert lawyers handpicked with regard to the unique individual case from its array of 15000 lawyers. Along with it providing managerial assistance at every stage as well. 

Further, the lawyer will draft a petition for bail or for defending the accused in the trial or on behalf of the victim can file a petition for proving the ingredients of section 295 before the judge or provide assistance for filing FIR online. 

This blog was drafted by Ms. Garemaa Parihar, BBA LLB, 4th-year student, University of petroleum and energy studies (UPES).
Offence Punishment Cognizance Bail Triable By
Defilement of worship places and affronting religious sensitivity Imprisonment, up to 2 years or fine or both Cognizable Non-Bailable Any Magistrate
Offence Defilement of worship places and affronting religious sensitivity
Punishment Imprisonment, up to 2 years or fine or both
Cognizance Cognizable
Bail Non-Bailable
Triable By Any Magistrate


Consult a Lawyer Now