Noted painter M F Husain on Monday got a major relief from the Supreme Court which refused to initiate of criminal proceedings against him for allegedly hurting public sentiments through some of his paintings that were dubbed as obscene.
"There are many such pictures, paintings and sculptures and some of them are in temples also," a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said, dismissing one such petition.
The Bench, also comprising Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal, was not impressed with the argument that Hussain was taking advantage of his age and reputation to get away with the law by painting obscene pictures.
One such creation of the painter, titled Bharat Mata, was brought before the apex court for its scrutiny.
Maharashtra-based Dwaipayan Venkateshacharya Varkhedkar had challenged a Delhi High Court verdict quashing the criminal proceedings initiated against the eminent painter in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
Husain's paintings, allegedly depicting Bharat Mata and Hindu Gods and Goddesses in an obscene manner, had created a furore resulting in him receiving threats from right-wing groups like the VHP and the Bajrang Dal. As a result, the painter is living in a self-imposed exile in Dubai.
The proceedings against the painter were initiated on the basis of complaints filed in Panderpur (Maharastra), Rajkot (Gujarat) and Indore (Madhya Pradesh) alleging that his paintings were obscene and hurt public sentiments.
The criminal complaints filed in various places were shifted to the Patiala House district courts in the Capital after the artist had approached the apex court.
After the transfer of cases, Husain, 90, had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court for quashing the complaints which was allowed on May 8 this year.