Supreme Court rejects Kerala activist Rehana Fathima's bail plea in semi-nude video case
By Vivek Raj | Galatta | Aug 07, 2020, 03:20 pm
The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the anticipatory bail request of Kerala activist Rehana Fathima in regard to the case filed against her over a controversial video in which she is seen in a semi-nude form with her minor children painting her body. The court questioned her over the allegations and called out her actions as "spreading obscenity".
Led by Justice Arun Mishra, the three-member bench in the Apex Court questioned Rehana Fathima as to the purpose of indulging in such activities. They have told her that such actions will create a bad impression in society and are nonsense irrespective of her being an activist.
A video of Ms Fathima had emerged not long back showing her in a semi-nude position with her 14-year-old-son and eight-year-old daughter painting over her body. Thereafter, she was charged under the POCSO (Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences) and IT (Information Technology) Act. In her bail plea, she stated that her intention with her actions was to "normalise the female form for her children and not allow distorted ideas of sexualisation to pervade their minds".
Rehana Fathima made headlines in September 2018 when she attempted to enter the Sabarimala temple after the Supreme Court granted permission for women of ages 10-50 to enter after being traditionally-barred. She had requested for an anticipatory bail at the Supreme Court after the Kerala High Court denied it earlier. During the hearing, she argued saying the case registered against her was in violation of her fundamental rights to life, liberty and dignity. She further stated that she extended her cooperation to the maximum level during the investigation and her conduct remained extraordinary.
Speaking at the court, Ms Fathima said, "Goddesses in Kerala are frequently depicted in idols and murals with bare breasts. When one prays at the temple the feeling is not of sexual arousal but one of divinity,". She questioned, "(Does) female nudity (even when not visible) per se constitutes obscenity? (Can) children painting on their mother's body can be concluded to be "sexual gratification" and "child abuse" under these stringent laws?"
Earlier, the Kerala High Court had rejected granting Ms Fathima bail upon observing that the video was contributing to representing children in an obscene manner and for sexual gratification, with offences under the POCSO and IT acts being levied against her. She questioned the law relating to the application of POCSO and IT acts on the charges framed against her, while arguing that nudity, per se, cannot be treated as obscenity. She had filed for anticipatory bail a day after a search was conducted at her house in Kochi where her mobile phone and laptop were confiscated.