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The Punjab Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a Bill which proposes life imprisonment for the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib, Gita, Quran and Bible in Punjab even as Shiromani Akali Dal sought to record its observation that there should be “differentiation” between Guru Granth Sahib and other holy scriptures since holy scripture of Sikhs is considered as “living Guru”.

On March 21, 2016, the then SAD-BJP government had passed The Indian Penal Code (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2016, and The Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2016, recommending life sentence for desecration of Guru Granth Sahib by inserting section 295 AA in the IPC and enhancement of punishment under section 295 IPC (Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) from two to ten years of imprisonment.

The Punjab Assembly on Tuesday withdrew the 2016 Bill, returned by the Centre last year, and passed the new Bill proposing life imprisonment for desecration of religious scriptures of all the four religions. The new Bill retains the earlier amendment proposed in 2016 Bill pertaining to section 295 of IPC where enhancement of punishment was proposed from two to ten years in jail.

After Punjab Governor gave its assent to 2016 Bill, the Bill was sent to union government for its nod. The Centre had asked the Punjab government to either withdraw the Bill or include all religions in the proposed amendment if it wanted the Bill to be looked at afresh.

Since India is a secular country and it has no specific religions.So it may not be judicious to insert section 295 AA for any particular religious community.

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