Upholding a magistrate court’s order, Mumbai court judge S C Jadhav officially discharged Indian actor Shilpa Shetty from the case registered in Rajasthan against her and American actor Richard Gere under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Information Technology Act for obscenity, reported Hindustan Times.
In 2007, the Primal Fear actor kissed Bollywood star Shetty on her cheeks when they came together on stage for an AIDS awareness program in Rajasthan. While metropolitan magistrate Ketaki Chavan already discharged Shetty from the case in January 2022, the case continued due to a complaint filed in Rajasthan alleging that Shetty had committed an obscene act by not objecting to Gere’s kiss.
The judge, revisiting the plea, said that the present respondent (Shetty) had not kissed but had been kissed, and therefore obscenity on her part was not evident. The court also ruled that “there is nothing to suggest” that the Bollywood star committed anything as such to act to make it an offence under the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act in any form.
“Having considered the material placed on record and the police papers, there is no material to frame charges against the accused,” read the court order.
The prosecution had said there was ample evidence against the accused to frame charges under IPC Section 292 for obscenity, provisions of the Information Technology Act, and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, and prayed for setting aside the magistrate’s order.
Shetty, represented by advocate Prashant Patil, opposed the plea, stating the lower court’s order was “proper and a legal one.” There is no material to frame charges, and therefore, there is no perversity in the impugned order. Hence, the revision application needs to be dismissed at great cost, Patil argued.
The court, after hearing both sides, said on April 3 that “a woman being groped on the street or touched on a public way or in public transport cannot be termed as accused or participative to an extent of mental culpability, and she cannot be held for an illegal omission to make her liable for prosecution.”
“The magistrate’s order does not require any interference at the hands of this court,” the judge said, adding that the magistrate has “rightly” evaluated the material.