Sacrilege Condemned Irrespective of Religion: High Court Stresses Sanctity of Religious Sentiments

by Parminder Singh Sodhi

In a landmark judgment that underscores the sanctity of religious sentiments, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has affirmed the significance of following the teachings of the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. The ruling, delivered by Justice Jasgurpreet Singh Puri, highlights the Guru’s directive that there would be no human Guru after him and that the sole Guru to be revered is the Guru Granth Sahib. The court’s decision emphasizes that any deviation from this sacred principle constitutes an affront to religious sentiments.

The case that led to this pivotal judgment involved an individual who claimed to be the reincarnation of Guru Nanak Dev and sought the quashing of an FIR filed under Section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code in December. The FIR, registered at the Division E police station in the Amritsar District Police Commissionerate, accused the petitioner of deliberately and maliciously intending to outrage the religious feelings of a particular class of people and insulting a religion and its beliefs through spoken words and visible representations.

Justice Puri, in his ruling, affirmed that the allegations against the petitioner were not only serious but also of high magnitude. He stated that “An act of sacrilege, regardless of any religion, is a serious and heinous offense, particularly because it affects a large section of society.”

The heart of Justice Puri’s judgment rested on Guru Gobind Singh’s clear directive that there would be no human Guru after him, with the Guru Granth Sahib as the sole entity to be revered. Citing Supreme Court judgments, shabads (hymns) from the Guru Granth Sahib, and references provided by Amicus Curiae Kulwant Singh Boparai, Justice Puri underscored the importance of adhering to these fundamental principles.

In his observation, Justice Puri highlighted that the Guru Granth Sahib is a sacred compilation containing shabads from the Gurus, saints, scholars, and writers. He noted that it is not just the holy scripture of Sikhs but also a final, sovereign, and eternal living Guru following the lineage of the 10 human Gurus.

This judgment serves as a powerful reminder of the need for respecting religious sentiments and beliefs, regardless of one’s faith. It reiterates that acts of sacrilege are unacceptable and deeply hurtful, and they have a profound impact on society as a whole.

As this landmark ruling reverberates throughout the region, it sends a clear message about the importance of upholding the values of religious tolerance and respect. It is a call to recognize and protect the sanctity of religious beliefs, thereby promoting harmony and understanding among diverse communities. In a world where religious coexistence is more important than ever, this judgment stands as a beacon of guidance for all, emphasizing the universal principle that sacrilege is a serious offense against humanity itself.

Parminder Singh Sodhi

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