A petition is filed for issue of a writ of mandamus to ban the Koran on the ground of disharmony or feelings of hatred or ill will between different communities. Decide.
Distinction between malignantly and wantonly:
The word “malignantly” connotes general malice and according to Webster’s dictionary the terms “maliciously” and “malignantly” is synonymous. Malice is not only an expression of hatred and ill-will to an individual, but means an unlawful act done intentionally without just cause or excuse. Malignant means extreme malevolence or enmity, violently hostile or harmful.
The word “wantonly” means recklessly, thoughtlessly, without regard for right or consequences. It connotes a far larger scope than would be implied by the word “malignantly.
Section 153 of the Code lays down that whoever malignantly, or wantonly, by doing anything which is illegal gives provocation to any person knowing that such provocation will cause the offence of rioting, shall be punished with one year’s imprisonment or with fine if the offence of rioting has been committed, and six months or with fine, if the offence is not committed.
Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony:
Section 153-A, added by Act No. 41 of 1951, and as substituted by Act No. 35 of 1969, provides that: Whoever,
(a) By words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, promotes or attempts to promote, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, or
(b) Commits any act which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religions, language or regional groups or castes or communities, and which disturbs or is likely to disturb the public tranquility, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine or both.
In the given problem A promotes feelings of enmity between different classes of the citizens of India and as such is liable to the punished with imprisonment up to three years, and/or with fine under Section 153-A of the Code.
There is no question for forfeiture or banning the Koran on the ground of disharmony or feelings of enmity or hatred or ill-will between different religions or communities.
This book is not prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religions. Because of the Koran no public tranquility has been disturbed up to now and there is no reason to apprehend any likelihood of such disturbance in future.
On the other hand, the action of the petitioners praying for a writ of mandamus directing the State of West Bengal to declare each copy of the Koran as forfeited to the Government, may be said to have attempted to promote, on the grounds of region, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religions, i.e., between Muslims on the one hand and non-Muslims on the other within the meaning of S. 153-A.
Similarly it may be said that by this petition the petitioners insult or attempt to insult the Muslim religion and the religious belief of the Muslims within the meaning of S. 295A of the Penal Code. It is an affront to Islam’s Supreme scriptual authority. (Chandanmal Chopra v. State of West Bengal, A.I.R. 1986 Cal. 104).