'Nudity Not Obscene by Default': Kerala HC Quashes Case Against Rehana Fathima

The HC said the activist was trying to challenge patriarchal norms by letting her children paint on her body.

2 min read
'Nudity Not Obscene by Default': Kerala HC Quashes Case Against Rehana Fathima
Hindi Female

The Quint DAILY

For impactful stories you just can’t miss

By subscribing you agree to our Privacy Policy

The Kerala High Court on Monday, 5 June, quashed a case against Kerala activist Rehana Fathima, pertaining to a controversial video of her children painting on her semi-nude body, reported LiveLaw.

Fathima was charged under Sections 13, 14, and 15 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, Section 67B (d) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

Passing the order on Monday, Justice Kauser Edappagath said that the video, which was circulated by the activist on Facebook, cannot be considered obscene as she had explained that it was created to challenge patriarchal notions and the sexualisation of women's bodies.


What was the case about? In June 2020, the activist came under fire for circulating a video of her two minor children – a 14-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl – painting on her semi-nude body. She contended that the exercise was aimed at challenging the stigma associated with women's bodies and imparting sexual education to her children.

Fathima, who was one of the women to first enter Sabarimala temple, was denied anticipatory bail in the case and was later granted conditional bail by a special court.

What did the high court say? Finding merit in Fathima's contention that she was trying to challenge patriarchy and sensitise her children, Justice Edappagath highlighted society's double standards when it comes to men's and women's bodies.

"The autonomy of the male body is seldom questioned, while the body agency and autonomy of women are under constant threat in a patriarchal structure. The women are bullied, discriminated against, isolated, and prosecuted for making choices about their bodies and lives."
Justice Kauser Edappagath, as per LiveLaw

The court further observed that "the mere sight of the naked upper body of the woman should not be deemed to be sexual by default. So also, the depiction of the naked body of a woman cannot per se be termed to be obscene, indecent, or sexually explicit. The same can be determined to be so only in context."

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from gender

Topics:  Kerala High Court   Nudity   POCSO 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More