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All cases against M F Husain to be heard in Delhi: SC
February 04, 2008 18:05 IST
The Supreme Court on Monday transferred a criminal case pending against noted artist M F Hussain for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus with his controversial paintings from a court in Maharashtra to Delhi.
A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan directed that the criminal case against Hussain would now be shifted from a court in Pandharpur to Patiala House Courts in New Delhi, where two similar cases against him were pending.
Senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the 92-year-old painter, submitted that six criminal cases were pending against him in various courts across the country and it would be appropriate that a general order be passed that, in future, any complaint against his artistic work will be transferred to Delhi.
However, the bench, also comprising Justices C K Thakker and R V Ravendran, did not pass any order on this plea.
The bench on October 5, 2007 had stayed the Pandharpur court order issuing a non-bailable warrant and proceedings against the painter and had issued notice to Dwaipayan Venkateshacharya Warkhedkar on whose complaint the trial court had started the proceedings.
The complaint case in Pandharpur had referred to a book titled Anti-Hindus published in 2003, which mentioned Hussain's painting that allegedly denigrated Hindu deities.
The advocates informed the bench that the same person had earlier also filed similar case against Hussain. They accepted that after some of his work ran into controversy, Husssain himself had apologised.
The court had in 2007 stayed a Haridwar court order to the Mumbai Police to attach the property of the artist for his failure to appear in the case there.
Other criminal cases pending against the painter are in various courts in Bhopal, Indore and Rajkot.
In these cases, Hussain has been accused of committing various offences under the Indian Penal Code for hurting the religious sentiments, promoting enmity between different religious groups and promoting obscene material.
Some of the complaints were against his painting of Bharat Mata, which had led to protest in various parts of the country.