Big Relief for Shilpa Shetty, Sessions Court upholds Discharge in Obscenity Case involving Richard Gere's Kiss
In 2007, at an AIDS awareness event held in Rajasthan, Hollywood actor Richard Gere kissed Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty on the cheek, which was considered by some as an obscene act and an affront to Indian culture. A complaint was filed against both actors under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Information Technology Act.
The case was eventually transferred to Mumbai on the orders of the Supreme Court in 2017, where the metropolitan magistrate at Ballard Pier began hearing the case. In January 2022, the magistrate discharged Shetty after observing that she seemed to have been a victim of Gere's act, and that her failure to protest did not make her a conspirator or perpetrator of any crime.
The State of Maharashtra challenged the magistrate's order by filing a revision application before the sessions court, claiming that the order was illegal and against the principles of natural justice. The State also argued that Shetty's act of allowing herself to be kissed in public constituted an "obscene act" under Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code.
However, on Monday, the sessions court in Mumbai dismissed the State's revision application and upheld the magistrate's order. The detailed copy of the order is yet to be uploaded, but it appears that the court found no merit in the State's arguments and believed that Shetty was not responsible for Gere's actions. The case has been closely watched and debated in India, with some seeing it as a test of the country's tolerance for cultural and artistic expression.
- PTC PUNJABI