The Kerala High Court Friday dismissed activist Rehana Fathima‘s petition for anticipatory bail, paving the way for her arrest in connection with a video she uploaded on social media platforms that showed her two minor children painting on her semi-nude body.
Fathima has been booked under sections 13, 14, and 15 of POCSO Act, section 67B(d) of the Information Technology (IT) Act, and section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act at the Ernakulam Town police station based on a complaint filed by a local BJP leader.
Fathima has now said that she will approach the Supreme Court for relief.
The high court bench of justice PV Kunhikrishnan observed that prima facie it is of the opinion that the accused used the children for the purpose of sexual gratification as the children are painting on a naked body of their mother.
“The expression of the petitioner, while the children are painting on her breast, is also important. Whether that amounts to the use of the children for the purpose of sexual gratification can be finally decided only after a custodial interrogation of the petitioner,” the court observed.
“According to the petitioner, she is teaching her children sex education by uploading this video. As I said earlier, if this painting on the naked body of the petitioner happened within the four walls of the house of the petitioner, there cannot be any offence. After watching the picture painted by the children, I have no hesitation to appreciate the talents of the children. They deserve encouragement. But not in the way the petitioner encouraged them by uploading this video. The petitioner, when shot and uploaded these videos in social media, also claims that she wants to teach sex education to the children in the society. I cannot accept this stand of the petitioner,” the judge noted in the order, dismissing her petition for bail.
The court underlined that it was making these observations only to resolve the contentions raised by the activist and that the investigative officer must probe the matter untrammeled by the observations.
Fathima, who courted controversy in 2018 by attempting to offer prayers at the Sabarimala temple in the wake of the Supreme Court judgment, contended in her petition that children must be given sex education so that they can mature themselves to view body parts as a different medium altogether rather than see it alone as a sexual tool.
The activist said morality and public outcry cannot be the basis of logic for instituting a crime and prosecuting a person. She had argued that her video on social media platforms cannot be seen in isolation without understanding the message that was conveyed along with the video.