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A. Veerabhadran Chettiar Vs. E.V. Ramaswami Naicker and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revn. Case No. 267 of 1954 and Criminal Revn. Petn. No. 249 of 1954
Judge
Reported inAIR1955Mad550; 1955CriLJ1268
ActsIndian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 295
AppellantA. Veerabhadran Chettiar
RespondentE.V. Ramaswami Naicker and ors.
Appellant AdvocateK.S. Ramamurthi, Adv.;Public Prosecutor
Respondent AdvocateK. Narayanaswami Mudaliar, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredGossamee Sree Greedhareejee v. Ramanlolljee Gossamee
Excerpt:
.....the accused themselves belong. an act like this beyond producing certain amount of prejudice against the doer does not serve any useful..........court is that the mud figure of ganesa alleged to have been broken by accused 1 was not an object held sacred or worshipped by any class of persons, that simply because it resembled the god ganesa held in veneration by a section it could not become an object held sacred, that even ganesa idol abandoned by the people as unworthy of worship loses its sanctity and it is no longer an object held sacred by any body, since such given up idols are found in several places of defilement.it further observed that it is not an offence if a person breaks any such abandoned idol and that therefore the breaking of the mud figure of ganesa does not amount to an offence under section 295, i. p. c. respondents 2 and 3 are said to have abetted respondent 1. the question is whether on the facts stated.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Somasundaram, J.

1. This is a revision against the order of the Sessions Judge of Tiruchirapalli division refusing to order further inquiry in a case in which the First Additional First Class, Magistrate of Tiruchirapalli dismissed the complaint under Section 203, Criminal P. C.

2. A complaint was laid by the petitioner herein against the respondents for offences under Sections 295 and 295-A. I. P. C. The complaint is that accused 1 broke the mud image of Ganesa in public at the Town Hall maidan on 27-5-1953 at 5-30 p. m. So far as the offence under Section 295-A is concerned, sanction of the Government is necessary under Section 196, Criminal P. C., and as no such sanction was obtained, the trial Court was perfectly justified in stating that he could not take cognizance of that offence.

3. As regards the offence under Section 295, I. P. C., what is stated by the trial Court is that the mud figure of Ganesa alleged to have been broken by accused 1 was not an object held sacred or worshipped by any class of persons, that simply because it resembled the God Ganesa held in veneration by a section it could not become an object held sacred, that even Ganesa idol abandoned by the people as unworthy of worship loses its sanctity and it is no longer an object held sacred by any body, since such given up idols are found in several places of defilement.

It further observed that it is not an offence if a person breaks any such abandoned idol and that therefore the breaking of the mud figure of Ganesa does not amount to an offence under Section 295, I. P. C. Respondents 2 and 3 are said to have abetted respondent 1. The question is whether on the facts stated above an offence under Section 295, I. P. C. has been made out. Section 295, I. P. C. reads as follows:

'Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defilement as an insult to their religion, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.'

4. The ingredients of the section are that a person must first destroy, damage or defile any place of worship or any object held sacred by any class of persons; secondly he must have the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction damage or defilement as an insult to their religion. If one of the ingredients is not present, then the offence is not made out.

What was broken in public was a mud image of God Ganesa. Will the destruction of this mud image come within the scope of 'any object held sacred by any class of persons'? I think not In dealing with the interpretation of the above words in Section 295, I. P. C. Edge C. J. has observed in -- 'Queen-Empress v. Imam Ali', 10 All 150 (FB) (A) as follows:

'If I were to apply the usual principle of construction to this section, I should come, to the conclusion that it was intended that the 'object' should be one ejusdem generis with a 'place of worship' that is, some inanimate object such as an idol etc.'

In that case they were dealing with the killing of a cow by a Muhammadan and they held that the cow was not an object. These observations were concurred by the other Judges of the Full Bench and they were approved in -- 'Romesh Chunder Sannyal v. Hiru Mondal', 17 Cal 852 (B), At p. 859 it was observed as follows:

'I think that by the word 'object' the Legislature meant something, 'ejusdem generis' with a place of worship, such as an idol or a picture which was the subject of litigation in -- 'Gossamee Sree Greedhareejee v. Ramanlolljee Gossamee', 16 Ind App 137 (C)'.

In the above case they were dealing with a dedicated bull. It is clear from the observations in the above two cases that the word 'object' has to be interpreted 'ejusdem generis' with a place of worship. Interpreted like that, it would mean that the section would apply only to cases where an idol in a temple is sought to be destroyed, damaged, or defiled. The words 'any object held sacred by any class of persons' even otherwise will apply only to idols in a temple or when they are carried out in processions on festival occasions.

The object held sacred will mean only the idols inside the temple and when they are taken out in processions on festival occasions. In such circumstances as in the present case the breaking is nothing more than a doll taken from the shop. Though the intention of the respondents may be to decry the feelings and wound the susceptibilities of a large section of the people, still the intention alone is not sufficient unless it is carried out by an act which must fall within the scope of this section.

The dolls in the shop, though they may resemble several of the deities in the temple cannot be held to be objects held sacred by any class of persons. In modern society there are several images of the deities in the drawing rooms of several houses. It cannot for a moment be suggested that these images are objects held sacred.

These have got to be distinguished from the objects held sacred, which can only be when they are duly installed in a temple and from which they are subsequently taken out in procession on festival occasions. What was broken therefore by the respondents is nothing more than a doll taken either from a shop or made for the occasion, and it cannot by any means be called an object held sacred. The offence is not made out and the dismissal is therefore justified.

I may observe that though this is not an offence it is certainly imprudent and inconsiderable on the part of the respondents to have done a thing like this in public. I would like to adopt the observations of Mahmood J., in 10 All 150 (A)', and say that it is difficult for any one to conceive that the gentlemanly feelings of any person belonging to the better classes of the community to which the accused belong would ever permit the doing of an act in violation of considerations suggested by the religious feelings and prejudices of those members of the community to which the accused themselves belong. An act like this beyond producing certain amount of prejudice against the doer does not serve any useful purpose.

5. The petition is dismissed.


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