Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh, who is in the headlines due to his clothes, is now in the news due to sharing and photographing pictures without clothes. On the other hand, Ranveer Singh has been booked for spreading obscenity because of these pictures.
Actually, Ranveer Singh, who has worked in more than one hit films, recently shared some nude pictures from his social media account, which were taken for the American magazine ‘Paper’. These pictures of Ranveer Singh are viral on social media and people are giving different types of reactions.
At the same time, considering these pictures as objectionable, two people have filed a complaint against Ranveer Singh in Chembur, Mumbai. One of them is a woman and the other person is associated with an NGO.
According to the complainants’ lawyer Akhilesh Choubey, when the nude pictures of Ranveer Singh were zoomed, his ‘private parts were visible’. This has hurt the ‘feelings of women’ and their dignity has been hurt.
Such cases on Bollywood stars are not new. Artists like Milind Soman and Poonam Pandey, who came from the modeling world, have also faced such cases.
Nude photography is a way of serving art in a creative way for some, while others consider it obscene. That is why this topic has been a matter of debate from time to time.
But when does any work or material come under the purview of obscenity? And what does the law say about this in India?
What is the whole matter?
Ranveer Singh shared some pictures of nude photoshoot done for the cover of American magazine ‘Paper’ from his Instagram account. He has more than 40 million followers on Instagram.
Ranveer Singh’s post has been liked by about 2.5 million people on Instagram but it also made some people uncomfortable. Following the complaint, a case has been registered against Ranveer in Mumbai under Sections 292, 293 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) along with Section 67 (A) of the IT Act.
India has a ‘good culture’ and people’s sentiments are being hurt because of such pictures, the FIR said.
Talking to BBC Hindi, the complainant’s lawyer argued that it is possible that Ranveer’s pictures may not be obscene to people of 40 to 45 years of age, but it is obscene for young men and women of 20 years.
What is the provision in IPC?
In India, obscenity is a crime from the legal point of view and there is a provision of punishment for it.
Sections 292, 293 and 294 of the IPC are for cases related to obscenity, but it has not been clarified that what is obscenity.
According to Advocate on Record Rahul Sharma in the Supreme Court, Section 292 lays down when a composition or material can be said to be obscene.
According to this, if any person sells or circulates any indecent material, book or other objectionable material which causes moral discomfort or inconvenience to others, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years and with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees. Is. If a person is found guilty in such a case for the second time, then the punishment can increase to 5 years.
Under Section 293 of the IPC that has been imposed on Ranveer Singh, there is a provision of punishment from 3 years to 7 years for selling or circulating pornographic material to young men and women below 20 years.
Under Section 294 of the IPC, there is a provision of punishment for those who commit obscene acts in public places. However, this section is not mentioned in the FIR registered against Ranveer Singh.
Under Section 509, one of the two other sections filed against Ranveer, any act done, said words or gestures with the intention of outraging the dignity of women. If found guilty in such cases, he can be punished with imprisonment of up to three years and fine.
At the same time, there is a provision of maximum punishment of 5 years and fine up to 5 lakhs under section 67A of the IT Act for publishing and broadcasting obscene material through electronic means i.e. social media etc. Repeated or repeated offenses can be punished with imprisonment of up to 7 years and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh. It is important to know here that this is a non-bailable section.
So why was Ranveer Singh not arrested despite the non-bailable section?
On this question, Supreme Court lawyer and cyber law expert Virag Gupta says, “Even if a case has been registered under non-bailable sections in an FIR, the arrest of the accused is not necessary. According to the law and the decision of the Supreme Court. If the accused is not cooperating with the investigation, there is a possibility of tampering with the evidence or if custodial interrogation is necessary, then only then the police should make the arrest.”
Here the question arises that there is no definition of obscenity in the IPC, then how is it decided which material is obscene and which is not?
It is interesting that for this, Indian courts have been resorting to English law till now.
How were the decisions made in the courts?
According to experts, till the year 2014, judges in courts decided through ‘Hicklin Test’ whether any material is obscene or not. The name of this test was derived on the basis of a case that came to England in 1868.
In the case of Aviq Sarkar v State of West Bengal, the Supreme Court set aside the Hicklin test and tested it on the criterion of the Routh test prevalent in America. Under this it is believed that nudity should be measured from the perspective of an ordinary person, taking into account the immediate social standards, rather than from a group of sensitive people.
Lawyer Rahul Sharma says, “Under the Hicklin test, it is seen whether any obscene material is influencing a person immorally. One of the major drawbacks of this test was that it considered the material to be obscene, even if it affected a weak minded.”
“Since morality is a concept that changes with time and society, the social norm test strikes a balance between freedom of expression and limitation and the constraints of morality.”
This case was related to the nude picture of tennis great Boris Baker with his fiancee. The picture was originally published in a German magazine but was also published in India by Sportsworld Magazine and Ananda Bazaar Patrika newspaper.
The Supreme Court of India, while hearing the case involving the Ananda Bazar Patrika group, had held that the picture depicted the love between a skin-white man and a black woman. The message of the picture is that love matters, not the color of the skin.
On the question of whether Ranveer Singh can be punished in this case, lawyer Virag Gupta believes, “Such cases fall under the category of luxury litigation. By making headlines, the complainant and the celebrity all get publicity. In the initial phase, the court After getting relief from the court, a lot of time passes for the final verdict of the case. This process itself is considered as punishment. Generally people are not punished in such cases.”