Kissing in public by married couple not obscene: HC
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has stayed criminal proceedings against a couple wondering how and why an "expression of love by a young married
couple" in this case allegedly by stealing kisses in public should attract the charge of obscenity.
Justice S Muralidhar stayed an FIR lodged against one Ajit (name changed) and his wife who were booked by the Dwarka police station cops for allegedly kissing each other under the local Metro station even as they awaited word from their lawyer in connection with registration of their marriage.
"The FIR doesn't make a case for offence under Section 294 (obscenity) read with 34 IPC. It is inconceivable how, even if one were to take what is stated in the FIR to be true, an expression of love by a young married couple would attract offence of obscenity and trigger the coercive process of law," observed Justice Muralidhar. The case has been posted for February 25 when the prosecution will have to report about the action taken on the complaint of police harassment lodged by the couple with the police commissioner.
The newly married duo was picked up by ASI Vidhyadhar Singh of Dwarka police station on September 4 last year after he claimed to have found them "sitting in an objectionable position near a Metro pillar and kissing each other due to which passersby were feeling bad." Even though Ajit told them they were married, the cop hauled them to the police station and arrested them. Later, both were granted bail from the police station itself.
HC was surprised how Singh disregarded the fact that the two were married and registered an FIR for obscenity. Moreover, neither in the FIR nor in the subsequent chargesheet did the police attest any statement of witnesses or 'passersby', leaving no doubt in the mind of the court that charges were cooked up.
Ajit alleged both to the police and the bar council that the lawyer who promised to get the marriage registered connived with Singh to extort money from him and his wife as they were unaware of the intricacies of law.
In his petition before HC seeking quashing of the FIR, Ajit mentioned how, while the couple was being 'interrogated' by the cops, his ATM card was misused to polish off Rs 20,000 from his bank account. He said the couple got married in first week of September last year at an Arya Samaj temple without the knowledge of their respective parents. Therefore, both continued to stay separately as they tried to get the marriage registered and sought services of a lawyer who, as it turns out, cheated them. The petition in fact denies that they were kissing each other and says they were just clicking self portraits on the mobile phone camera.
Arguing their case before HC, the lawyer brought out finer distinctions in the law on what constitutes obscenity. Speaking to Times City, the advocate explained, "Obscenity charges get attracted when the act is so obscene that it encourages depravity or annoys the public. In this case both these contents are missing because the chargesheet is silent on any passersby as originally claimed," he added.