The Supreme Court on Monday transferred a criminal case pending against noted artist MF Hussain for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus with his controversial paintings from a court in Maharashtra to Delhi.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan directed that the criminal case against Hussain will now be shifted from a court in Pandharpur to Patiala House Courts in New Delhi where two similar cases against him were pending.
Senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the 92-year-old painter, submitted that six criminal cases were pending against him in various courts across the country and it would be appropriate that a general order be passed that in future any complaint against his artistic work be transferred to Delhi.
However, the Bench, also comprising Justices CK Thakker and RV Ravendran, did not pass any order on this plea.
The Bench on October 5 last had stayed the Pandharpur court order issuing non-bailable warrant and proceedings against the painter and had issued notice to Dwaipayan Venkateshacharya Warkhedkar on whose complaint the trial court had started the proceedings.
The complaint case in Pandharpur had referred to a book titled Anti-Hindus published in 2003 which mentioned Hussain's painting that allegedly denigrated Hindu deities.
The advocates informed the Bench that the same person had earlier also filed similar case against Hussain.
They accepted after some of his work ran into controversy, Husssain himself had apologised.
The court last year had stayed a Haridwar court order to the Mumbai Police to attach the property of the artist for his failure to appear in the case there.