Trivandrum: The Kerala High Court recently turned down a plea to declare Grihalakshmi magazine cover, depicting woman breastfeeding a baby, as ‘obscene’.
Grihalakshmi, a Malayalam fortnightly created quite a buzz by its radical cover of an actor breastfeeding a baby with the caption, “Don’t stare, we have to breastfeed”, in its March issue. The cover featuring actor, poet, lyricist Gilu Joseph was meant to elucidate the importance of breastfeeding and the taboos revolving around it.
The bench of Chief Justice Antony Dominic and Justice DamaSeshadri Naidu dismissed a writ petition in this regard by observing that going by the contemporary community standards the said picture is not prurient or obscene, nor even suggestive of it. The judgment quotes William Dalrymple, AbhinavChandrachud, Steven Pinker and refers to Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra and various court orders on the issue as it interprets rather elegantly, “Shocking one’s morals is an elusive concept, amorphous and protean. What may be obscene to some may be artistic to other; one man’s vulgarity is another man’s lyric, so to say. Therefore, we can only be subjective about the magazine cover depiction.”
The bench recalled that in Bobby Art International v. Om Pal (Bandit Queen movie), the Supreme has observed that nakedness does not always arouse the baser instinct. “May we observe, Indian psyche has been so mature for ages that it could see the sensuous even in the sacred. The paintings in Ajanta and the temple architecture are cases in point,” the court observed.