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Shiv Ram Dass UdasIn Vs. the Punjab State - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMedia and Communication;Criminal
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Original No. 35 of 1952
Judge
Reported inAIR1955P& H28; 1955CriLJ337
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) - Sections 99A; Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 295A
AppellantShiv Ram Dass Udasin
RespondentThe Punjab State
Appellant Advocate C. Rai and; S.V. Kesar, Advs.
Respondent Advocate K.S. Chawla, A.A.G.
Excerpt:
.....intended to outrage feelings of any class of citizens of india by insulting religion - passage in book does not show any disrespect to sri guru granth sahib but only places his own interpretation - no offence punishable under section 124 a or 295 a - hence, forfeiture liable to be set aside. - sections 100-a [as inserted by act 22 of 2002], 110 & 104 & letters patent, 1865, clause 10: [dr. b.s. chauhan, cj, l. mohapatra & a.s. naidu, jj] letters patent appeal order of single judge of high court passed while deciding matters filed under order 43, rule1 of c.p.c., - held, after introduction of section 110a in the c.p.c., by 2002 amendment act, no letters patent appeal is maintainable against judgment/order/decree passed by a single judge of a high court. a right of appeal, even though..........the state government under section 99-a of the code forfeiting to the government every copy of the book called 'gurmat vichar suraj' and all the documents containing copies, reprints and translations of or extracts from that book may be set aside.2. in criminal original no. 35 of 1952 the point for consideration is whether the book called 'gurmat vichar suraj' contains any matter the publication of which is punishable under section 124a or section 153a or s. 295a, penal code.3. section 99-d of the code provides that the special bench shall, if it is not satisfied that the book contains matter punishable under section 124a or section 153a or section 295a, penal code, set aside) the order of forfeiture.4. in these proceedings it is common ground that the boob does not contain any seditious.....
Judgment:

Harnam Singh, J.

1. In Criminal Original No. 35 of 1952 Shri Shiv-ram Das Udasi applies under Section 99-B, Criminal P. C., hereinafter referred to as the Code, that the order passed by the State Government under Section 99-A of the Code forfeiting to the Government every copy of the book called 'Gurmat Vichar Suraj' and all the documents containing copies, reprints and translations of or extracts from that book may be set aside.

2. In Criminal Original No. 35 of 1952 the point for consideration is whether the book called 'Gurmat Vichar Suraj' contains any matter the publication of which is punishable under Section 124A or Section 153A or S. 295A, Penal Code.

3. Section 99-D of the Code provides that the Special Bench shall, if it is not satisfied that the book contains matter punishable under Section 124A or Section 153A or Section 295A, Penal Code, set aside) the order of forfeiture.

4. In these proceedings it is common ground that the boob does not contain any seditious matter punishable under Section 124A or any matter which promotes or is intended to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between different classesof citizens of India punishable under Section 153A, Penal Code. That being the position of matters, the question that arises for decision is whether the book contains matter which is deliberately and maliciously intended to outrage the feelings of any class of citizens of India by insulting the religion or the religious beliefs of that class.

5. In 1898 Bhai Kahan Singh published the book called 'Ham Hindu Nahin' wherein he stressed the points of difference on religious mat-ters between the Hindus and the Sikhs.

6. In 1937-38 Shri Shivram Das Udasi wrote the book called 'Gurmat Darpan'. In that book Shri Shivram Das Udasi maintained inter alia that inasmuch as the Sikh Gurus had made supreme sacrifices for the protection of Hindu culture the Gurus were Hindus. That book was published by Sardar Bulaqi Singh and Sardar Amar Singh of Gujrat, Punjab.

7. In April, 1939 Shri Bhag Mal Udasi published the book called 'Gurmat Darshan' wherein he made an attempt to show that the point of view expressed by Shri Shivram Das Udasi in the book called 'Gurmat Darpan' was erroneous.

8. In February, 1951 Shri Shivram Das Udasi published book called 'Gurmat Vichar Suraj' wherein he dealt with points raised by Shri Bhag Mal Udasi in 'Gurmat Darshan' and Bhai Khan Singh in 'Ham Hindu Nahin'.

9. By order passed on 29-2-1952, the State Government has declared to be forfeited to Government every copy of the book called 'Gurmat Vichar Suraj' and all the documents containing copies, reprints, and translations of or extracts from 'Gurmat Vichar Suraj'. In passing orders under Section 99-A of the Code the State Government thought that the passages appearing at pages 184, 246, 248, 259, 272, 291, 302, and 312 of the book called 'Gurmat Vichar Suraj' were punishable under Section 295A, Penal Code.

10. Indisputably, it is no defence to a chargeunder Section 295A, Penal Code, for anyone to pleadthat he was writing a book in reply to the onewritten by one professing another religion whohas attacked his own religion.

11. In arguments it was conceded that the publication of passages appearing at pages 259, 272, 302 and 312 of the book does not fall within S, 295-A, Penal Code. Indeed it was said that the objectionable passages in the books were those to be found at pages 184, 246, 248, and 291 of the book.

12. Shri Bhag Mal maintained in the book called 'Gurmat Darshan', that God is not in the guise of the Hindu deity, Vishnu. In that book Shri Bhag Mal prefaced his discussion by his own poetic composition. In the passage appearing at page 184 of the book called 'Gurmat Vichar Suraj' Shri Shivram Das Udasi has criticised the passage from the poetic composition of Shri Bhag Mal reading

'Ram Krishan 'Avtar Asur Sangharan KarneSirje Sirjanhar'.'

13. Plainly, Shri Bhag Mal in the passage cited above maintained that Cod created Ram andKrishan 'Avtars' for destroying demons. If so, there was nothing offensive in that passage.

14. In 'The Opening' of the 'Sri Guru Granth Sahib' Guru Nanak describes God to be 'One Supreme Being, the true-and-eternal Name, the Creative Person, fearless and without enmity the timeless Form, 'unborn' and self-existing, the Enlightner known through grace; true in the beginning, true in the night of ages, true even now and true eternally'. In the hymns of the Gurus the 'Incarnations' are stated to be men sent by God to do His work of saving the world age after age. That is the Sikh belief about the mission of the Gurus.

15. In justifying the married life of Hindu deities Shri Shivram Das Udasi makes reference to the life of Guru Har Rai. In considering that matter the author maintains that the Sikh Gurus having married, no objection can be made to the ten incarnations of Vishnu on the ground that they were married. In 'Raj Magh.' Guru Arjan says that 'the devotion of the house-holder is superior to that of the anchoret'.

16. Again, in the passage under consideration it is said that the ten incarnations of Vishnu cannot be said to be full of anger for the reason that they destroyed the demons. In discussing that matter Shri Shivram Das Udasi cites with approval the battles fought by Guru Har Gobind and Guru Gobind Singh against tyranny and oppression and the punishment imposed upon the 'Masands' by Guru Gobind Singh.

17. In the passage appearing at page 184 of the book the author refers to collection of 'tithes' ordered by the Gurus and maintains that the mere possession of wealth is no evidence of greed.

18. Prom that I have said above, it is plain that in the passage appearing at page 184 of the book the author seems to accept the conduct of the Gurus to be the Ideal Conduct and on that basis seeks to justify the conduct of the ten incarnations of Vishnu.

19. In the passage appearing at page 146 of the book Shri Shivram Das Udasi seems to think that Guru Teg Bahadur thought that the soul was perishable. In this connection he cites the 'Slok' of Guru Teg Bahadur which reads

'What is born dieth to-day, to-morrow, or thenext day; Nanak, sing God's praises and layaside all entanglements.'

20. Plainly, in this 'Slok' Guru Teg Bahadur emphasises the eternal truth that death is certain for all. In the hymns of the Gurus the soul is described to be 'unborn', 'undying', 'deathless' and 'birthless'.

21. In 'Rag' Devgandhari Guru Teg Bahadur sang

'All thy relations are only for life; Thy mother, father, brothers, sons, kinsmen and the wife of thy house,'When the soul parteth from thy body, cry out and call thee a ghost';Nobody keepeth thee even half a 'ghari'; they expel thee from the house.'

22. In numerous hymns to be found in the 'Sri Guru Granth Sahib' bodies are said to diebut the soul which possesses the body is stated to be eternal.

23. In 'Rag' Asa Guru Arjan Sang

'*****

The soul neither dieth nor is born;

*****

24. In 'Akal Ustat' Guru Gobind Singh described the Sikh conception of the manner in which souls emanate from God and are again absorbed in Him in these words :

'As from one lire millions of sparks arise; though arising separately, they unite again in the fire;

As from one heap of dust several particles of dust fill the air, and on filling it again blend with the dust;

As in one stream millions of waves are produced; the waves being made of water all become water;

So from God's form non-sentient and sentient things are manifested, and, springing from Him shall ail be united in Him again'.

25. Shri Shivram Das Udasi seems to think that the immortality of soul conflicts with the Gurus' teaching that God is without a 'second'. In the noble words of Guru Gobind Singh cited above the soul comes forth from God and is always really in Him as a partial expression of His Will.

26. In considering tho matter Shri Shivram Das Udasi thought that the basic teaching of the Gurus being that there is no vicarious atonement the thought expressed by Guru Teg Bahadur in the 'Slok' cited above conflicts with that doctrine. In expressing that view Shri Shivram Das Udasi thought that the soul was perishable.

27. In 'Sri Rag' Guru Amar Das said :

'The 'pandits' induced by wordly gain read, andread, and recite the 'vedas', The fool who in his love of mammon forgettethGod's Name, shall be punished therefor.'

In commenting upon that thought Shri Shivram Das Udasi expresses the opinion that the 'Granthis' induced by wordly gain read and read and recite 'Sri Guru Granth Sahib' and shall also be punished.

28. In the passage appearing at page 248 of the book the author comments upon the 'Kabit' of Bhai Gur Das reading :

'As a virtuous woman ever thinketh on her husband and desireth not to behold another man;

As the 'chatrik' never longeth for lakes, rivers, or seas, but for cloud-drops and singeth the praises of the Beloved;

As the 'chakor' in no way desireth to behold the sun, but in every way longeth for the moon, which is dearer to it than life; So do the Guru's Sikhs naturally refrain from worshipping other gods, but not insultingly or disdainfully.'

29. In numerous passages appearing in the 'Sri Guru Granth Sahib' the Gurus have emphasised that worship is due to God alone. In the days when the Sikh Gurus lived they were not worshipped by the Sikhs and the 'Sri GuruGranth Sahib' being the embodiment of the ten Gurus is not the object of worship with the Sikhs.

30. In tho passage appearing at page 291 of ' the book Shri Shivram Das Udasi expresses the opinion that the Sikh Gurus did not repudiate the institution of caste system. That he was wrong in so thinking is plain from what Guru Nanak said in 'Sri Rag Ki War' :

'Castes are folly, names are folly'.

31. In 'Rag Bhairo' Guru Amar Das said :

'Let none be proud of his caste, He who knoweth God is a Brahman. O! Stupid fool, be not proud of thy caste;

From such pride many sins result. Everybody saith there are four castes, But they all proceeded from God's seed. The world is all made out of one clay, But the Potter fashioned it into vessels ofmany sorts. The body is formed from tho union of fiveelements;

Let any one consider 'if he hath' less or more'in his composition'.

Saith Nanak, the soul is fettered by its acts, Without meeting the true Guru salvation is notobtained.'

32. In writing about the mission of Guru Nanak 'Bhai' Gurdas said that Guru Nanak established 'Avarn Asharam' in India.

33. Prom what I have said above, it is plain that the passages to which objection is taken in the order of forfeiture there seems to be some misconception of thought.

34. In order to bring the case within Section 295A, of the Code it is not so much the matter of discourse as the manner of it. In other words, the words used should be such as are bound to be regarded by any reasonable man as grossly offensive and provocative and maliciously and deliberately intended to outrage the feelings of any class of citizens of India. In no part of the book called 'Gurmat Vichar Suraj' is there any passage showing disrespect to the Sikh Gurus or the 'Sri Guru Granth Sahib'. From what I have seen in the book it is plain that the author professes to accept the message of the Gurus as contained in the 'Sri Guru Granth Sahib' but seeks to place his own interpretation on that message. That being the position of matters, I do not think that the publication falls within Section 295A, Penal Code.

35. For the foregoing reasons, I set aside the order of forfeiture passed by the State Government on 29-2-1952 forfeiting to Government every copy of the book called 'Gurmat Vichar Suraj' and all the documents containing copies, reprints, and translations of or extracts from that book.

36. Finding, however, that Shri Shivram Das Udasi was ill-advised to write the book called 'Gurmat Vichar Suraj' in 1951 I leave the parties to bear their own costs.

Bhandari, C.J.

37. I agree with my learned brother that the book does not contain any matter punishable under Section 124A or Section 153A or Section 295A, Penal Code, & consequently that theorder of forfeiture must be set aside, I would leave the parties to bear their own costs.

Falshaw, J.

38. I agree.


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