Does an expression of love by a married couple at a public place amount to obscenity? No, says the Delhi High Court.
Justice S Muralidhar made this clear on Monday while staying criminal proceedings against a newly-wed couple caught by the police in Dwarka in September “sitting in an objectionable position near a Metro pillar and kissing ”.
The 28-year-old man and the 23-year-old woman were booked under IPC’s Section 294 (obscene act) with a maximum imprisonment of three months and Section 34 (act done by more than one person in furtherance of common intention).
“To say the least, the FIR, even when taken on its face value, does not make out a case for the offence under obscenity,” said the judge. “It is inconceivable how, even if one were to take what is stated in the FIR to be true, the expression of love by a young married couple in the manner indicated in the FIR would attract the offence of obscenity and trigger the coercive process of law.”
The court was angry that though the police said in the FIR that the couple were “booked as passersby were feeling bad”, nobody was mentioned as a witness in the charge-sheet.
The couple had moved the court seeking quashing of proceedings against them. Their marriage had been solemnised on September 4, 2008 at an Arya Samaj temple. They then sought the services of a lawyer to get the marriage registered under the Hindu Marriage Act.
The lawyer asked them to come to the Dwarka court complex on September 18 for some paperwork. According to the FIR, the couple kissed each other while waiting for the lawyer under the Metro station near the court complex. Two policemen — ASI Vidhyadhar Singh and constable Roshan Lal — saw them kissing.
“What is striking is that despite the SI finding on inquiry that the two petitioners were husband and wife, he thought it fit to go ahead and register an FIR,” the court said. Staying the FIR, the judge issued a notice to the Delhi Police and summoned all trial court records pertaining to the case. The next date of hearing is February 25.