Legal Correspondent

In May, a Haridwar court had ordered attachment of his properties

Husain said he faced a threat to his life in Haridwar

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the transfer of the case against M.F. Husain for his nude paintings of Hindu goddesses from the court of the Special Judicial Magistrate in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, to a court here.

In May, SJM K.S. Shukla directed the Mumbai police to attach the painter’s properties. On a petition from Mr. Husain, seeking transfer of the case to Delhi, the apex court stayed the trial.

5 cases transferred

Pointing out that the apex court had already transferred five such cases to a court in Delhi, he wanted the present case also to be shifted.

On Wednesday, a Bench comprising Justices B.N. Agrawal and P.P. Naolekar, allowed the petition and shifted the case to Patiala court in the capital.

Mr. Shukla had directed the police to attach Mr. Husain’s property on the ground that he repeatedly failed to respond to summons to appear.

Advocate Arvind Shrivastava had filed a case against Mr. Husain in the Haridwar district court in March 2006 for allegedly depicting Hindu goddesses in an obscene manner.

He accused Mr. Husain of outraging religious sentiments, promoting enmity between different religious groups, selling obscene material and disturbing national integrity, thereby committing offences under several sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Acting on the Haridwar court’s orders, police in Mumbai began the process of attaching a house but found that it did not belong to Mr. Husain but to his son.

Transfer petition

The transfer petition, filed through special power of attorney Chawla Dharamvir, said Mr. Husain had a reasonable and genuine apprehension that he would face a serious threat to his life and person if the case was heard in Haridwar.

Mr. Dharamvir said it was never the intention of the petitioner to hurt anyone’s religious or other sentiments. The painting was finished in 2004, and not given any title by the petitioner.