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Home > News > India News > Article > Bombay HC bats for progressive stance on obscenity quashes criminal case against Nagpur residents

Bombay HC bats for progressive stance on obscenity, quashes criminal case against Nagpur residents

Updated on: 12 October,2023 06:21 PM IST  |  Nagpur
mid-day online correspondent |

Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has taken a progressive approach in defining obscenity, resulting in the quashing of a criminal case against five men who were accused of watching women in 'scantily dressed' attire dancing at a party

Bombay HC bats for progressive stance on obscenity, quashes criminal case against Nagpur residents

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The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has taken a progressive approach in defining obscenity, resulting in the quashing of a criminal case against five men who were accused of watching women in 'scantily dressed' attire dancing at a party, stated a report in PTI.


In their decision, the court acknowledged the prevailing standards of morality and the contemporary perception of normal and acceptable attire. A division bench, comprising Justices Vinay Joshi and Valmiki SA Menezes, declared the First Information Report (FIR) registered by Umred police in Nagpur district on Wednesday as null and void, the report further stated.


The FIR, dated May 31, 2023, detailed a police raid in the Umred area, where they discovered men watching women, scantily dressed, engaged in a dance performance considered obscene, where dummy currency notes were being showered on them. Reportedly, as many as eighteen individuals, including the women, were named in the FIR, prompting the accused to seek its dismissal through legal means.


The High Court, in its order, stated, "Taking a narrow view as to what acts could constitute obscenity would be a retrograde act on our part. We prefer taking a progressive view in the matter and are unwilling to leave such a decision in the hands of police officials."

The judges emphasized that the actions of the accused women, who were allegedly wearing short skirts and engaging in provocative dancing or making 'obscene' gestures, should not be automatically categorised as "per se obscene acts" capable of causing annoyance to the public.

"While holding this position, we remain mindful of the general norms of morality prevalent in present Indian society and take judicial note of the fact that, in present times, it is quite common and acceptable for women to wear such clothing or be clad in swimming costumes or other revealing attire," the court stated.

Such attire is frequently observed in films and beauty pageants, the court noted, adding, "Surely the provisions of section 294 of the Indian Penal Code (pertaining to obscene acts) would not apply to this situation."

With PTI inputs

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