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In a relief to producer and actor Pooja Bhatt, the Bombay High Court has quashed an order of a lower court to initiate criminal proceedings against her for alleged obscenity over the poster of her film ‘Rog’.

She was charged for criminal conspiracy and under section 292 of the Indian Penal Code for public display or exhibition of obscene material.

Justice K U Chandiwal recently quashed the 2010 order of the sessions court directing initiation of criminal proceedings against Bhatt.

Justice Chandiwal observed, “Obscenity varies among moral standards of society and is linked to what a rational mind will interpret. The publication should be judged as a whole and photos need to be examined with responsible reader test.”

The criminal proceedings against Bhatt were initiated based on a complaint made by activist Vinod Jain. Jain had compared the poster of ‘Rog’ to those of “blue” films.

In 2008, a metropolitan magistrate court had discharged Bhatt from the case after observing that there was not enough evidence against them.

But Jain challenged the order before the sessions court which set aside the magistrate’s direction observing that the accused cannot be discharged at such an early stage.

Bhatt then approached the high court seeking for the criminal proceedings to be quashed and set aside

Bhatt’s lawyer Subodh Desai had argued that the publicity screening committee had thoroughly scrutinised all publicity material of its members’ movies and had approved the posters.

Reacting to the order, Bhatt tweeted, “Divine Justice in the form of a high court hearing in my favor for an obscenity case against my film ROG. Fought this for 8 long years! Had I chickened out and settled out of court as most people in entertainment are prone to do, it would have resulted in more such cases.”

The film, starring Irrfan Khan, Ilene Hamann and Himanshu Malik, released in 2005.


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