The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the proceedings in obscenity cases initiated against Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty in various courts in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in connection with the controversial public kiss by Hollywood star Richard Gere during an AIDS awareness function on April 15 in the capital.
A Bench headed by Justice KG Balakrishnan also issued notices to various complainants on her petition seeking transfer of all the cases related to the controversy to Mumbai.
Seeking quashing of criminal cases registered against her in various courts at Jaipur, Ghaziabad and Mundawar (Alwar), Shetty also sought stay on all proceedings until the transfer on her petition was decided.
Claiming that the incident was wrongly projected by the media resulting in the filing of private criminal complaints by some lawyers at the said places, Shetty apprehended that she might be issued summons/warrants. Shilpa, a resident of Mumbai, requested the apex court to transfer all the cases to the court of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in the western metropolis.
Tuesday's order comes as a major reprieve for the actress as the kissing incident during an AIDS awareness programme at the Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar in New Delhi had sparked off strong protests in several cities.
Shetty has pleaded in her transfer petition that she frequently traveled abroad as also within the country and the cases should be transferred to Mumbai for she was headquartered there and it would be convenient for her to attend the proceedings.
A Rajasthan court had issued a warrant against the duo and a court in Ghaziabad had summoned both Gere and Shetty on criminal complaints filed against them for obscenity and indecent public behaviour.