The Bombay High Court dismissed a police prosecution over an event hosted in the banquet hall of a resort in Tirkhura, Nagpur, ruling that provocative dancing, wearing short skirts, and making gestures cannot be regarded “obscene” acts per se that could offend the public.
Six women were discovered dancing for a tiny crowd when a police squad raided Tiger Paradise Resort and Water Park in Tirkhura in May, under the decision of the High Court’s Nagpur bench.
According to the FIR, the six ladies were dancing indecently and wearing short skirts when the police officers entered the banquet hall. The crowd and observers were also giving the women false bills with the value of Rs. 10/-. The order also mentions that several of the spectators were drinking alcohol, according to the FIR.
The FIR cited pertinent provisions of the Maharashtra Police Act and its prohibition statute, as well as Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with obscenity.
The court emphasized that an act must be conducted in public in order for it to be considered an offense under Section 294. “Section 294 further requires that the obscene act or the obscene song or words must, after being seen or heard, be to the annoyance of others, meaning thereby, a specific complaint should be made by people in the immediate vicinity of either of these acts,” the order states.
The court emphasized that the IPC does not define a “public place” and instead relied on previous rulings to reach the conclusion that a resort’s banquet hall must be considered a “public place” “in the absence of any material on record to demonstrate that it was in exclusive and private use of the Applicants or any other Accused persons in this case.”
Attending the event, the defendants contended that this is “clearly a case of moral policing on the part of the Investigating Agency”.
The judge stated that “wearing short skirts, dancing provocatively or making gestures that the Police Officials consider obscene cannot be termed to be per se obscene acts, which could cause annoyance to any member of the public” .