Kochi (Kerala) [India], November 24 (ANI): The Kerala High Court on Tuesday imposed strictures on activist Rehana Fathima after she uploaded a video on social media in which on a cookery show referred to a dish as 'Gomatha Ularth'.
Fathima has been booked under Section 153 of the Indian Penal Code and imposes an absolute restriction on using social media until the conclusion of the trial.
A single bench of Justice Sunil Thomas observed that the use of the term "Gomatha" as a synonym for meat in a cookery show was likely to hurt the religious feelings of Hindus, who worship cows as a deity.
"There cannot be any dispute that the term "Gomatha" as is commonly understood is with reference to the holy or sacred cow. Scriptures quoted by the complainant show that, since the Vedic period, the cow is revered as holy as deities, in India. If it is so believed by several lakhs Hindus throughout the country, definitely, the use of the term Gomatha as a synonym for meat used in a cookery show, prima facie is - likely to wound the religious feelings of those believers," the Court said.
It observed that there was absolutely no material on record to show that 'Gomatha' is used synonymously for meat anywhere in India.
"Choice of the word 'Gomatha Ularth' prima facie appear to be ill-motivated and purposefully made and that uploading of such a highly objectionable video for public viewing may affect the Fundamental Right of the devotees," the Court held.
The Court was thus of the opinion that Fatima had violated bail conditions imposed on her (not to hurt the sentiments of any religious community) by the High Court in an earlier case pertaining to the publication of offensive materials about Lord Ayyappa of Sabarimala.
Though the Court opined that a natural consequence of such conduct should be the cancellation of bail, it proceeded to take a lenient view and said, "The arrest and detention of the accused in two crimes have not improved the conduct of the accused. Still, on a firm belief that she will start recognizing the rights of others also and that exercise of one's Right to Freedom of speech and expression should not offend the Fundamental and statutory rights of others, am inclined to give her one last opportunity."
Till the trial is over, the accused shall not directly, indirectly, or through any other person publish, transmit, share, upload or disseminate or publish any material or any of her comments through any visual and electronic media, open to the public, the Court stipulated. (ANI)