The cases filed against painter M.F. Husain cannot be withdrawn, as they have been filed by individuals, and it is up to Husain to return to India or not, the Supreme Court has said.
Dismissing a plea, the court on Friday said it would neither tell the Indian government to take steps to withdraw cases against Husain nor ask it to take steps for his return to India.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, told Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh: “If [Husain] is in Doha, what is the problem? It is up to him to return to India.”
The court was hearing a plea that wanted it to direct Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to initiate steps to bring Husain back to India.
The 95-year-old artist recently accepted Qatari citizenship after living in exile for more than four years. He left India after 95 criminal cases were registered against him in various parts of the country. Husain was slapped with obscenity charges for his paintings of Hindu deities.
The plea had claimed that Husain’s fundamental rights had been violated as he was unable to return to India and referred to an earlier SC order in which the court had said no exceptions should be taken to artistic expression.