A condom advertisement featuring a couple performing the Gujarati dance form garba does not hurt the religious sentiments of any community, the Madhya Pradesh High Court said in a ruling earlier this month, Bar and Bench reported on Wednesday.

The court was hearing a plea filed by a pharmacist who had put up the advertisement on social media. He was seeking to quash a first information report filed against him under Sections 505 (public mischief) and 295A (hurting religious sentiments) of the Indian Penal Code, and provisions of the Information Technology Act.

The complainant had alleged that the advertisement hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindu community. The Madhya Pradesh High Court dismissed the first information report on December 19. The detailed order was made available on Wednesday.

In his judgement, Justice Satyendra Kumar Singh said that there was nothing on record to suggest that the pharmacist intended to hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community, Live Law reported.

“...Considering the fact that he himself belongs to the Hindu community, and so also the fact that he posted it from his own mobile number without concealing his identity, it appears that his intention was just to promote the product of his company,” the judge noted.

The case dates back to 2018 when the pharmacist, Mahendra Tripathi, had posted an advertisement for free condoms and pregnancy test kits for couples on WhatsApp group and Facebook. The advertisement showed a couple performing garba.

In his plea challenging the first information report, Tripathi had argued that being a Hindu himself, he had no intentions to hurt the sentiments of the community, Bar and Bench reported. Tripathi said that he had put up the advertisement to attract customers during the festive season when Gujaratis traditionally dance the garba style.