English: Cloze Test for Upcoming Exams – Set 148

Directions: In the passage given below there are 10 blanks. Every blank has four alternative words given in options (A),(B),(C), and (D). You have to tell which word is APPROPRIATE according to the context. If all are appropriate then mark your answer as “E”.

The Punjab Cabinet’s decision to amend the law to make acts of ___1___ against the holy books of major religions punishable with life imprisonment is retrograde and ___2___ with undesirable consequences. It may also set off a needless ___3___ of legislation in the rest of India to pander to different groups. The current proposal is a slightly expanded form of amendments passed by the Punjab Assembly in 2016, specifically aimed at curbing acts of sacrilege targeting the Guru Granth Sahib. The Centre had then returned the Bills, saying that protecting the holy book of only one religion would make it discriminatory and anti-secular. The proposal now cleared by the Cabinet aims to also cover the Bible, the Koran and the Bhagvad Gita. In specifics, the law will introduce a new section (Section 295-AA) in the Indian Penal Code after India’s own ‘blasphemy law’, Section 295-A, which criminalises “deliberate and ___4___ acts intended to outrage religious feelings”. As prior permission of the Central or State government is needed to prosecute someone under such sections, a consequential amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure will be required. The earlier Bill was introduced by the Shiromani Akali Dal government following allegations of ___5___ of the holy book. Opposition to the Bill was then limited to the question whether holy books of other religions did not warrant the same protection. None seemed concerned about using religious sensitivities to score political points.
Is there any necessity for a fresh provision to protect religious books from damage, insult and sacrilege, when Section 295-A itself covers it? While upholding its constitutional validity in 1957, the Supreme Court had clarified that the section “punishes the ___6___ form of insult to religion when it is perpetrated with the deliberate and malicious intention of outraging religious feelings”. It is true that one ___7___ of any blasphemy law, as Section 295-A can be termed, is aimed at preserving public order; and miscreants can fan disorder and tension by malicious acts such as damaging or desecrating a holy ___8___ . This can be invoked to jail someone for three years. Providing for a life term for the same offence in relation to religious texts would be grossly disproportionate. ‘Sacrilege’ itself is a ___9___ term, and would render the section too broad. There is a history of misuse of laws aimed to protect religious sentiments, and those that seek to punish persons who promote enmity between different groups. They have a chilling effect on free speech, and give a handle to anyone claiming to be outraged to pursue ___10___ prosecutions. There is a case to read down Section 295-A and Section 153-A of the IPC that give scope to prosecute people in the name of protecting the feelings of a section of society. There is no case whatsoever to enhance jail terms.

  1. consecration
    sacrilege
    veneration
    obeisance
    All are Correct
    Option B

     

  2. bare
    destitute
    fraught
    congested
    All are Correct
    Option C

     

  3. arbitrate
    deprave
    clarify
    flurry
    All are Correct
    Option D

     

  4. malicious
    considerate
    benign
    benignant
    All are Correct
    Option A

     

  5. sanctification
    desecration
    consecration
    veneration
    All are Correct
    Option B

     

  6. tranquil
    alleviated
    aggravated
    relieved
    All are Correct
    Option C

     

  7. twig
    bough
    branch
    limb
    All are Correct
    Option D

     

  8. codicil
    elegy
    verse
    text
    All are Correct
    Option D

     

  9. distinct
    obvious
    vague
    accurate
    All are Correct
    Option C

     

  10. convenient
    vexatious
    sedative
    pacifying
    All are Correct
    Option B

     


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