Section 153B of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Explained!

While section 153-A of the Code deals with the offence of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony etc., and section 295-A with the offence of deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class, by insulting its religion or religious beliefs, section 153-B deals with the offence of imputations and assertions etc. which are prejudicial to national integration.

In State of Karnataka v. Paster P. Raju, the accused was charged with having committed the offence of instigating Hindus to convert to Christianity. The Supreme Court held that previous sanction of central government under section 196 (1-A), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to prosecute him is necessary only for taking ‘cognizance’ by the court. Bar of sanction will not apply against registration of criminal case or instigation by police agency.

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The police arrested him and produced him before the magistrate who remanded him to judicial custody in accordance with section 167, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Passing of order of remand will not amount to taking of ‘cognizance.’

The offence under this section is cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable, and is triable by metropolitan magistrate or magistrate of the first class.