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The Supreme Court’s observations, while denying bail to defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, to the effect that he incited religious feelings in a video posted on social media, were out of place in what was a bail hearing. Such endorsement by the Court, which observed that Mr. Iyer-Mitra would be “safer in jail”, in response to his counsel’s plea that he feared for his life, was less than appropriate. Sending someone to the “safety” of a prison is no answer to questions raised by a prosecution under stringent laws that involve restrictions on free speech on grounds of maintaining public order and tranquillity. In a video post against the backdrop of the Konark temple, Mr. Iyer-Mitra had made some comments that were clearly satirical in nature. While it is entirely possible that his remarks offended some people, it is laughable to assume his intent was to sow discord or create religious enmity. The State police contended otherwise, charging him with outraging or wounding religious feelings and, quite mystifyingly, alleging that his remarks were directed against the “Odiya people”. On cue, the Odisha Assembly is now probing whether his satirical jokes constitute a breach of privilege of the House. Mr. Iyer-Mitra’s arrest in New Delhi by a police team from Odisha for his comments and some other tweets is another instance of the rampant misuse of two sections of the Indian Penal Code — 153A and 295A — on the charges of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion. However, a magistrate denied the police permission to take him to Odisha on transit remand, and instead granted him limited bail until September 28 on the condition that he join the investigation by that date. His petition for regular bail has now been rejected by the Supreme Court.
The entire episode flags a larger concern: provisions that ought to be invoked only under serious circumstances — a grave threat to public order and tranquility, for instance, or, in the case of Section 295A, when a purported insult to religion has been done with malicious and deliberate intent — are being misused in a routine manner. When the onus is on the prosecution to show there was criminal intent either to provoke disharmony or deliberately offend religious sensibilities, it is simply wrong to invoke these sections for everything that someone finds objectionable. Irreverence or even bad taste is not a crime. A mere response suffices; the use of prosecution and arrest are unjustifiable. Such an attitude will only make for an intolerant society consisting of easily offended individuals. In a mature democracy, the casual resort to criminal prosecution for perceived insults to either a religion or a class of society ought to be actively discouraged. In fact, the case must serve as yet another prompt to begin the process of reading down Sections 153A and 295A.
1. Denying ( Verb ) : इस बात का खंडन
Meaning : state that one refuses to admit the truth or existence of
Synonym : contradict , repudiate , disagree with
Antonym : confirm , accept
Usage : Most cases were earlier tips as lately, the authorities were far more cautious with our information; often even denying a tip was involved when an arrest occurred.
Similarly it only carried the doctrine of relativity to its logical conclusion in denying that there could be any absolute relativity.
2. Incited ( Verb ) : उकसाया
Meaning : encourage or stir up
Synonym : stir up, whip up, work up, encourage
Antonym : suppress, dissuade
Usage : On several occasions they incited the populations of the towns through which they passed against the Jews, and also against the monks who opposed their propaganda.
The racist man tried inciting hatred in his children by telling them falsehoods about minority groups
3. Stringent ( Adjective ) : कड़ी से कड़ी
Meaning : strict, precise, and exacting
Synonym : strict , firm , rigid
Antonym : lenient , flexible
Usage : I was so happy to move out of my parents’ house and escape their stringent rules
Airplanes must pass stringent safety tests before they are allowed to be passenger carriers.
4. Wounding ( Adjective ) : घायल
Meaning : causing physical injury.
Synonym : injure , hurt , damage
Antonym : heal , boost
Usage : But you have your life and your duties to others and I must stop wounding your conscience and let you go your destined way.
5. Rampant ( Adjective ) : अनियंत्रित
Meaning : unrestrained in action or performance
Synonym : uncontrolled , unchecked , unrestrained
Antonym : controlled , mild
Usage : During the riots, crime was rampant in the streets.
Under the administration of the crooked sheriff, corruption was rampant on the police force.
6. Tranquility ( Noun ) : शांति
Meaning : the quality or state of being tranquil; calm
Synonym : peace , calm , quiet
Antonym : commotion , busyness
Usage : The one thing he wished for was rest, tranquillity, and freedom.
The goal in life to be aimed at, according to him, is not happiness, but tranquillity, or equanimity.
7. Malicious ( Adjective ) : दुर्भावनापूर्ण
Meaning : characterized by malice; intending or intended to do harm
Synonym : malevolent , hostile , venomous , harmful
Antonym : benevolent , pleasing , decent
Usage : Because the man was angry with the government, he wrote a malicious letter to the president.
When the woman was fired, she accused the manager of being malicious towards her.
8. Irreverence ( Noun ) : अपमान
Meaning : a lack of respect for people or things that are generally taken seriously
Synonym : disrespect , scorn , disdain , contempt
Antonym : reverence , respect , regard , praise
Usage : The park will be broken down into “rock environs,” each one highlighting the music industry’s legends, lifestyles, culture and irreverence.
His irreverence for authority marks him out as a troublemaker.
9. Intolerant ( Adjective ) : असहिष्णु
Meaning : not tolerant of views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own
Synonym : narrow-minded , bigoted , inflexible , insular , dogmatic
Antonym : fair , impartial , patient
Usage : She is an intolerant person who hates listening to other people talk when their opinions are contrary to her own.
10. Perceived ( Verb ) : माना जाता है
Meaning : become aware or conscious of
Synonym : discern , recognize , distinguish , comprehend
Antonym : disregard , overlook , misinterpret , disbelieve
Usage : After being bitten by a poisonous snake, he will more than likely perceive all snakes as evil creatures for the rest of her life.
Sometimes I am so concerned about how others perceive me that I do not always listen to my own voice.