Bombay High Court grants relief to Mallika Sherawat in obscenity case

The Bombay High Court recently allowed a revision application filed by Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat alias Reema Lamba, seeking to quash a process issued by a Magistrate court in Nagpur on a private complaint filed by a local businessman, alleging that the kind of clothes worn by the actress in her films and public shows were obscene and spoiling social health.

Mallika Sherawat

Justice AB Chaudhari, allowing the application filed by Sherawat, said, “The trial judge had hardly applied its mind to the settled law and the provisions of the Cinematograph Act interpreted by the Supreme Court before issuing the order of process.”

A magistrate court had issued process against Sherawat in the year 2009 based on a complaint filed by Rajnikant Boulere of Yavatmal. This was challenged in the high court and has been pending for hearing since 2010. The court took up the application for hearing even when the advocate for Sherawat and Boulere were not present in court.

As per the complaint filed before the magistrate court, it alleged that the actress had worked in several Bollywood films in which she had worn short clothes and created obscene acts which were bound to create a lascivious effect on the minds of youths and viewers and as a result thereof crimes were committed and social health also spoiled.

The revision plea filed by Sherawat claimed that all the films mentioned in the complaint were cleared by the Censor Board. In case any person is aggrieved by such a certificate issued by the Censor Board, then the remedy lies under section 5D of the Cinematograph Act, says the plea.

Moreover, while issuing the process the magistrate should have considered the Certificate of the Censor Board, it adds.

The court after going through the complaint and the revision application noted that “an order of issuance of process must precede the application of mind to the law. In my opinion it was the duty of the magistrate to first verify whether those films had certification from the Censor Board or not.”

The court after considering the apex court judgement and other high court ruling allowed the revision application and quashed the process.