Kerala activist Rehana Fathima
Kerala activist Rehana Fathima

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of Kerala activist Rehana Fathima who is facing charges of child pornography under POCSO Act for allegedly making her children paint her half-nude body and uploading a video of it on Yo7uTube.

"What impression will growing up children get of the country’s culture?" a Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra asked while dismissing her plea. "You might be an activist but why do this? What kind of nonsense is this? It is obscenity clearly. And you are spreading it. It will leave a very bad taste," Justice Mishra said.

The petitioner is mother to a 14-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl. The counsel contended that the children seen in the video clip are "fully clothed" and argued that Fathima had been charged with child pornography and not obscenity. "Does female nudity (even when not visible) per se constitutes obscenity?" he pleaded on behalf of his client.

The counsel further contended that her stand has always been that if a man is semi-naked, there is nothing sexual about it. But if a woman is so, it is considered obscene. The lawyer insisted that his client is of the opinion that the only way out of this mindset is to sensitise people.

The activist’s plea mentioned that even "goddesses in Kerala are frequently depicted in idols and murals with bare breasts. When one prays at the temple the feeling is not of sexual arousal but one of divinity". "It may be noted that the video is still available on YouTube and has not been taken down because it shows no nudity," she pleaded.

"What kind of case you have brought before us? I am a little baffled," said Justice Mishra. Noting that the act in question prima face fell within the ambit of child pornography, the top court dismissed her petition.

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