The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday issued notices to Press Council of India and editor of a Hindi daily on a PIL objecting to photographs of an Australian model wearing a bikini with a picture of Hindu Goddess on it.
The Lucknow bench comprising Justices Abdul Mateen and Jayashree Tiwari directed the respondents to file a counter affidavit in six weeks time.
Notices to the the central and UP governments were received by Additional Solicitor General Ashok Nigam and state government counsel respectively
The court also directed the petitioner to file a rejoinder, if any, in two weeks' time after the affidavits are filed.
The bench appointed local lawyer Prince Lenin as amicus curie in the matter.
Taking suo motu cognisance of newspaper photographs of an Australian model wearing a bikini with a picture of Hindu goddess on it, the Allahabad High Court had yesterday decided to take the matter as a PIL.
The Lucknow bench comprising justices Devi Prasad Singh and S C Chaurasia had directed the registry to register it as a public interest litigation of criminal nature after three advocates drew the court's attention to the photographs, saying they were intended to insult the religious sentiments of Hindu community.
The photographs of the model wearing bikini with pictures of goddess Lakshmi on the front and back side were published in a Hindi daily.
The lawyers submitted that the newspaper should not have published the photograph and the Indian government should have taken action and approached the Australian government for punitive action.
The court also framed five question including whether such photographs may be published in Indian newspapers affecting the religious sentiments of citizens,whether Ministry of Foreign Affairs should interfere where religious sentiments are hurt by any action in foreign and whether Press Council of India may frame appropriate guidelines to regulate the electronic and press media.
Also, in case an offence is made out in India because of publication of such photographs in newspapers in the country or anywhere in the world, whether action may be taken on criminal side and in what matter.
There was also a query on remedial measures that may be taken by the government to prevent such offending acts in foreign country as well as to prevent the publication of such photographs in the Indian newspaper or electronic media.
The court also directed the registry to prepare two sets of records containing photo copy of the newspaper to place before the appropriate bench.
An Australian swimwear company used an image of Goddess Lakshmi on a bikini bottom and front of a model who walked the ramp at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week in Sydney last week.
Following an uproar, the company, Lisa Blue Swimwear, apologised to the Hindu community for hurting their sentiments.
"The image of Goddess Lakshmi will not appear on any piece of Lisa Blue swimwear for the new season, with a halt put on all production of the new range and pieces shown on the runway removed," said a company statement.