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Kushboo asked to produce transcripts of interview

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Actor Kushboo
Actor Kushboo

J. Venkatesan

She had given an interview to a magazine on

pre-marital sex

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked actor Kushboo to produce transcripts of her interview given to a magazine and published in a Tamil newspaper on pre-marital sex.

A three-Judge Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice B.S. Chauhan passed this order during the course of hearing of appeals filed by Ms. Kushboo against a Madras High Court judgment directing the Chief Metropolitan magistrate, Egmore, to conduct a joint trial of the 23 defamation complaints filed in various places in Tamil Nadu against her for the alleged remarks. The High Court in April 2008 ordered consolidation of all cases for joint trial and to dispose of the complaints in six months.

The Supreme Court had stayed this judgment.

Counsel Pinky Anand, appearing for Ms. Kushboo, submitted that ‘India Today’ magazine conducted a survey in September 2005 on the subject ‘pre-marital sex’ in big cities all over India. Ms. Kushboo had expressed her views regarding the need for teaching sexology to the younger generation either in educational institutions or by their parents.

She said on the face of it no offence was made out as the innuendo could not be connected to the complainant as there was no identifiable class of persons. When counsel said there was no whisper of obscenity in the statement, the CJI observed “it is a wide statement, slightly difficult to digest. How can you say no offence is made out? Unless we know what the question is, what is the answer and what is the context in which it is said we cannot understand the statement. You produce the full statement. We will consider it.” The Bench granted two weeks to the counsel to produce the transcript.

‘Vilification campaign’

In her appeal Ms. Kushboo said certain groups having political affiliation, in view of the by-election in October/November 2005 started a malicious vilification campaign against her for the sole purpose of achieving political mileage and publicity.

She said objecting to her statement in the magazine 23 complaints were filed against her under Section 499 and 500 IPC (criminal defamation) in various places in the State to harass and victimise her.

Contending that the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression could not be impinged upon by vested interests, who had unleashed a campaign of systematic complaints, she sought quashing of the impugned judgment.

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