‘Wearing Short Skirts, Making Gestures In Subjective Opinion Not Obscene’: Bombay High Court

‘Wearing Short Skirts, Making Gestures In Subjective Opinion Not Obscene’: Bombay High Court

FIR against five men quashed who were booked for showing fake currency to scantily dressed women in a resort

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Thursday, October 12, 2023, 10:20 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | PTI

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has quashed an FIR against five individuals booked for watching a performance by scantily dressed women and showering them with dummy currency notes.

A division bench of Justices Vinay Joshi and Valmiki SA Menezes said it cannot countenance the situation judged by a police officer, who in his personal opinion considers them to be obscene acts.

According to the prosecution, on May 31, the police received information of a party at a nearby resort and found the accused persons watching scantily dressed women performing obscene dance and the accused showering fake currency notes on them. Eighteen persons, including women, were booked by the police.

“Taking a narrow view as to what acts could constitute an 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 bench said.

“Per se obscene acts”

The judges also opined that the acts of the women accused in the case, who were allegedly wearing short skirts, dancing provocatively or making gestures that the police officials considered obscene, cannot be termed to be “per se obscene acts” which could cause annoyance to any member of the public.

“In present times it is quite common and acceptable that women may wear such clothing, or may be clad in swimming costumes or such other revealing attire,” the judges said.

In a detailed 33-page order, the bench said such dresses were often witnessed in films or at beauty pageants held in broad public view, without causing annoyance to any audience.

“Surely the provisions of Section 294 of IPC (anyone who does any obscene act) would not apply to all this situation and we are unable to countenance a situation where acts such as the ones referred to in the FIR would be judged by a police officer, who in his personal opinion considers them to be obscene acts,” the court underlined while quashing the FIR.

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