Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court of India in the matter of: Salil Tripathi


Petitioners, lawyers and judges, residing in the dots you fly over, such as Indore, Rajkot, Pandharpur and Haridwar.

Writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India in public interest, seeking restraint against the respondents from initiating or entertaining frivolous petitions that seek to circumscribe the right of free speech.

This writ petition is being filed in public interest following the wise judgement of justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul of the New Delhi high court, with a view to end the ghastly and appalling misuse of court time and taxpayers’ money by the respondents, who seek to curb artistic freedom.

The petitioner looks up to the Indian Constitution, and by disrespecting it, the respondents are prima facie accused under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code as theirs is a deliberate and malicious act, intended to outrage the petitioner’s religious feelings, and insulting his class of people who think of themselves as Indians first;

The drawings of Maqbool Fida Husain, showing formless divinities through the outlines of their bodies are reminiscent of ancient Hindu traditions as seen in the Gangaikondacholapuram Shiva temple (circa 1025) which depicts an almost nude Parvati, the Chola period (circa 900) with its statue of a nude Brahmani, the nude Vishnu and Lakshmi from the Parshvanatha temple of Khajuraho from the Chandela Period, and a marble Jain statue at Pallu, Bikaner (from the Solanki period, circa 1200) of a nude Saraswati, clad only in chains, necklaces and bangles;

The petitioner believes that the respondents should contribute to the GDP by shopping at Reliance Fresh or Pantaloon, sign up on the Tata Nano waiting list, and sing the Jana Gana Mana in shower, ending by shouting Mera Bharat Mahaan! and stay away from the Indian Premier League, where scantily clad mlechha apsaras?(low-caste foreign nymphs) prance around mocking India’s arya naris (noble women).

Instead, the respondents have prevented Husain from practising his trade, and by acquiescing, the state has violated Article 41 of the Constitution; The respondents have created an atmosphere in which Husain’s rights under Article 21 (protection of personal liberty), and Article 22 (protection against arrest) have been violated;

The respondents have brought grave dishonour to India, and thus violated the Prevention of Insult to National Honours Act of 1971, which prohibits the desecration of or insult to the flag, Constitution, and the national anthem, and through their acts the defendants have made India resemble Gen. Zia’s Pakistan, Than Shwe’s Burma, or Mullah Omar’s Afghanistan;

In all this, the respondents have failed their Fundamental Duties as Citizens under Article 51A, by not upholding the Constitution.

The petitioner has therefore no efficacious and speedy remedy other than approaching the court under its extraordinary jurisdiction, to direct the respondents to:

1. Cease and desist from attending Indian art galleries;

2. Stop watching Hindi films, which often show women in various state of undress, performing calisthenics that might have an adverse impact on the respondents’ blood pressure;

3. Not go within 50m of Khajuraho and Konarak temples, or the Chola sculptures;

4. Limit exposure to the voluptuous apsaras in Amar Chitra Katha;

5. Be gently advised that the word Kama in Kama Sutra does not mean work, and that the meaning will be revealed when they turn 18; and,

6. Reflect upon judge Kaul’s judgement, where, inter alia, he said: “Ancient art has never been devoid of eroticism where sex worship and graphical representation of the union between man and woman has been a recurring feature. It is unfortunate that the works of many artists today who have tried to play around with nudity have come under scrutiny… (As Pablo Picasso said,) Art is never chaste — where it is chaste, it is not art."

It is most respectfully prayed that the court issue the writ of mandamus directing judges to perform their statutory duties and obligatory functions by not entertaining frivolous petitions in future. The court should also ask magistrates bored with handling property disputes, to buy stocks, instead of trying to enliven their lives by summoning artists and Hollywood stars to the sad little banyan trees where they administer justice in remote villages. Ponder Judge Kaul’s wise words: “A magistrate must scrutinize each case …to prevent vexatious and frivolous cases from being filed and make sure that it is not used as a tool to harass the accused, which would amount to gross abuse of process of law."

As for other respondents who get offended so easily: Life is tough. Get over it.

Salil Tripathi is a writer based in London. Your comments are welcome at views@livemint.com