Nudity & obscenity are not synonyms, Kerela HC dismisses the case against Rehana Fatima.

This article is regarding an Indian women activist, who was charged against POCSO, after her video went viral in which she was seen showing her semi-nude body and letting her children paint over it, claiming to impart sex education.

Who is Rehana Fatima?

Rehana Fatima is a 37-year-old Indian model and women activist, who won the ‘nudity’ case of 2020. She belongs to an orthodox Muslim family and she pursued her B.Com and MCA degrees from Indira Gandhi National Open University. She was facing charges against the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act) case for allowing her children to paint her semi-nude body after her video went viral on social media.

This is not the first time, the activist was also abducted by police in Pathanamthitta district under the Information Technology Act and the Juvenile Justice Act on a complaint lodged by BJP OBC Morcha leader AV Arun Prakash.

 In 2014, she participated in the controversial ‘Kiss of Love’ protest in Kochi against moral policing along with her husband Manoj K Sreedhar.

Fathima also gained widespread attention in October 2018 when she was one of the women who attempted to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala following the Supreme Court’s decision to lift the ban on women of menstruating age.

About the case:

After her 2020 video went viral, Fatima was arrested and her bail was denied repeatedly. Fathima was facing charges under various provisions of the POCSO, Juvenile Justice, and the Information Technology (IT) Acts for circulating the video, where she was seen semi-nude with her children in sight. In the viral video that gained a lot of audience attention, activist Rehana Fathima was seen posing topless in front of her kids, allowing them to use her body as a canvas and paint on it to send out a social message about female nudity.

According to her, she aimed at imparting sex education to her children. The Court at first rejected the bail saying that, if the traduced act was confined to the petitioner’s house and the video of the same was not released on social media then it would have been perfectly legal for the mother to teach sex education in the manner she wanted.

However, after years of trial the High Court Judge of Kerela, Justice Edappagath said on Monday, that the purpose of the video served no sexual gratification or sexual intent. There is nothing to show that the children were used for pornography. The prosecution had termed the act as “obscene” and “indecent” as Fathima had exposed her upper body in the video and claimed that it was against the public notions of morality. However, rejecting the contention, the court said that “nudity and obscenity are not always synonymous.” “It is wrong to classify nudity as essentially obscene or even indecent or immoral,” it further said.

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