Punjab Writes To Centre, Seeks Pending President Assent Over Bills On Life Term

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New Delhi: After the state reported two cases where men were beaten to deaths over alleged sacrilege bid, Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Monday wrote to the Center asking for presidential assent for two bills passed by the state Assembly in 2018 over punishment in desecration incidents .

The development comes after two men were beaten to death over an alleged sacrilege bid in Punjab last week. The first incident involves a man attempting to commit sacrilege in the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple in Amritsar while in the other incident a man was being killed by the angry mob in Kapurthala over of desecration, according to news agency PTI.

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What are two bills pending President assent?

In a letter written to Shah, Randhawa sought assent to the Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018, and the Indian Penal Code (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018, which provides for imprisonment for life for the sacrilege of holy books.

Randhawa, who holds the home portfolio, wrote, “I want to bring to your notice that sacrilege of holy books is becoming a major issue in Punjab.” “Shri Guru Granth Sahib is considered a living Guru and not an object by the Sikhs and it is accorded respect according to Sikh maryada. In this context, it was felt that the existing provisions of Section 295 and 295-A of the Indian Penal Code-1860 which provide for a punishment of up to three years are inadequate to deal with this situation,” he said.

“So, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha passed the Indian Penal Code (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018 and the Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill 2018 which provide for punishment up to life imprisonment for whoever causing injury, damage or sacrilege to the Shri Guru Granth Sahib, Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Holy Quran and Holy Bible with the intention to hurt religious feelings of people,” he wrote.

Noting that the bills received assent by the Punjab governor in September 2018 it is pending for assent of the President since October, 2018.

“Punjab being a border state, it is extremely necessary to maintain communal harmony here. For this, deterrent punishment is a must for those trying to disturb communal harmony by indulging in the sacrileges. So, I again request that the Presidential assent for the said Bills may kindly be obtained and conveyed to the state government at the earliest possible,” he wrote.

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