Almost 15 years after Shilpa Shetty landed in an ‘obscenity’ controversy when Hollywood star Richard Gere kissed her on her cheek at a public event, the actor was discharged from the case by a Mumbai court which observed that she seems to be the victim of the act of Richard Gere.
January 18. A detailed order was made available on Monday. In 2007, the two actors had come together for an AIDS awareness programme in Rajasthan. On the stage, Richard kissed the actress on her cheeks, causing a stir in the country.
“It seems that the accused Shilpa Shetty is the victim of the alleged act of accused no. 1 (Richard Gere). Not a single element of any of the alleged offence is being satisfied in the complaint,” the court said in the order.
The kissing incident had evoked strong protests in several cities in India. Following complaints, cases were registered against both Richard and Shilpa under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Information Technology Act for obscenity.Immediately after the furore, Richard Gere had apologised to his ‘Indian friends’ for ‘offending’ them through a statement.
Shilpa’s then spokesperson Dale Bhagwagar had commented on the apology through a release, saying, “It is sad that Gere had to apologize for no fault of his. All he had done was enacted a scene from his film Shall We Dance to entertain the truckers at the AIDS awareness event. It was a natural cute and loving impromptu gesture by Gere which was blown out of proportion due to improper projection by the gossip-hungry television media.”
The case was transferred to Mumbai from the court of magistrate first class in Rajasthan on the orders of the Supreme Court in 2017. In its order, the Mumbai court held that none of the news reports annexed to the complaint demonstrated common intention.
One of the allegations against Shilpa is that she did not protest when she was kissed by the co-accused Gere. “This by no stretch of imagination makes her a conspirator or perpetrator of any crime,” the order said.