Wading into the debate over appearance of Sunny Leone on reality TV show Bigg Boss 5, Press Council of India Chairperson Justice Markandey Katju said the Indo-Canadian porn star's past should not be held against her if her behaviour in India is "socially acceptable".
"Sunny Leone was earning her livelihood in USA in a manner acceptable in that country, though it is not acceptable in India. Hence, if she conducts herself in India in a manner which is socially acceptable in India and does not breach the social moral code in India, we should not treat her as a social outcast," Katju said in a statement.
The Press Council chairperson also said that he had not been shown anything to suggest that she is indulging in pornography while in India.
Citing historical and religious figures, he said, "Lord Buddha stayed with the courtesan Amrapali and ate food served by her, and she later became his disciple.
"Similarly, Mary Magdalene was a fallen woman (according to the Gospel of Luke as interpreted by Pope Gregory) and Jesus allowed her to wash his feet and she later became his disciple," he noted.
"There is no saint without a past and no sinner without a future," Katju said.
A complaint over the Broadcast Consumers Complaint Council's (BCCC) inaction over the appearance of Leone -- which had been sent to Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni -- had been marked to Katju as well, sources said.
Leone's appearance on Big Boss 5 has been a subject of controversy for quite some time. BCCC had recently directed that Leone does not use the show to promote her pornography business.
The BCCC, however, had not found anything in the content of the show Bigg Boss 5 which, by itself, was violative of self-regulatory guidelines. As many as 38 complaints had been made to the BCCC regarding Leone's appearance.