The Supreme Court Friday dismissed the petition filed by Kerala activist Rehana Fathima challenging the state High Court’s order denying her anticipatory bail in a case against her in connection with a video she uploaded on social media platforms. The video showed her two minor children painting on her semi-nude body.
On July 24, the Kerala HC had dismissed her plea paving the way for her arrest in the case. Fathima has been booked under sections 13, 14, and 15 of the 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.
A bench of Justice PV Kunhikrishnan had observed that prima facie it was 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 had said
“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.
Fathima 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.
In 2018, she was in the news after attempting to visit the Sabarimala hill shrine after the Supreme Court lifted the age bar on the entry of women. Following an uproar over her attempt, she was suspended from her job at BSNL on charges of hurting religious sentiments and was also recently terminated from employment over the same. In 2014, Fathima had participated in the Kiss of Love campaign in Kerala against moral policing.
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