The Supreme Court on Friday rejected Kerala activist Rehana Fathima’s plea for anticipatory bail in a case related to a video showing her children painting on her semi-nude body, Live Law reported.
Fathima was charged under the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences or POCSO Act and Information Technology Act after a video emerged in June of her 14-year-old-son and eight-year-old daughter painting on her body.
The Supreme Court bench, comprising Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, said the video of Fathima and her children was “clearly obscene” and pornographic. “Why do you do all this?” the bench asked Fathima, according to Bar and Bench. “You might be an activist but why do this? What kind of nonsense is this? It is obscenity clearly which you are spreading. It will leave the society in a very bad taste.”
In her Supreme Court petition, Fathima said that even goddesses in Kerala were depicted in idols with bare breasts, NDTV reported. “When one prays at the temple the feeling is not of sexual arousal but one of divinity,” she said. “Does female nudity (even when not visible) per se constitute obscenity? (Can) children painting on their mother’s body can be concluded to be sexual gratification and child abuse under these stringent laws?”
Fathima approached the top court after the Kerala High Court rejected her anticipatory bail petition on July 24. The activist had defended her video, saying that her intention was to “normalise the female form for her children and not allow distorted ideas of sexualisation to pervade their minds,” according to NDTV. The High Court had said that Fathima’s video was “problematic” and amounted to an “obscene representation” of children for “sexual gratification”.
The activist was also in the news for trying to enter the Sabarimala temple in 2018 when it opened for the first time after the Supreme Court had struck down a ban on the entry of women of menstruating age. In October, the police had also filed a case against her for allegedly attempting to spread religious hatred on social media.