Kiku Sharda is arrested for mimicking Gurmeet Ram Rahim. Time to reconsider 295A

Kiku Sharda, the actor who plays ‘Palak’ in ‘Comedy Nights With Kapil’ was arrested for mimicking Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on his show. He has been sent to 14 days judicial custody in Haryana. Kiku Sharda is arrested on charges of hurting the religious sentiments of the followers of Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

It is reported that followers of Ram Rahim Singh filed a case against Kiku on 1 January 2016 for his show which was aired on 27 December 2015. In his ‘Comedy Night With Kapil’ show, Kiku mimicked Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.  After initial outrage, Kiku even apologized to Baba Ram Rahim and his fans.

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He is booked under section 295 A of IPC. Eight other people have been booked in the case. Section 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) enacted in 1927 says:

Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of [citizens of India], [by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise], insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to [three years], or with fine, or with both.

This is not the first time that 295A is questioned. For whatsoever reason, Nehru, instead of  removing such laws, introduced the First Amendment in 1951 which placed many restrictions on freedom of expression. This is a good time to reconsider these outdated laws. As pointed out in our earlier articles on Sec 66A and Criminal Defamation, we need to get rid of this law too.

Meanwhile, twitter actively reacted against the arrest. Many people showed support for Kiku, and some with poor understanding of law used this as an opportunity to target the Haryana Government:

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