Grihalakshami’s breastfeeding cover page wasn’t obscene: Kerala High Court

Kerala High Court refuses to label Malayalam magazine Grihalakshami’s cover of woman breastfeeding as obscene
Malayalam magazine Grihalakshami’s March 1 issue cover that shows model-poet-actress Gilu Joseph breastfeeding a baby.

A two-judge Bench of the High Court ruled that the magazine had not committed any offence that can affect “society’s moral fabric”

The Hush Post: In a recent verdict, the Kerala High Court has refused to label Malayalam magazine Grihalakshami’s cover of a woman breastfeeding as ‘obscene,’. The High Court ruled that “what may be obscene to some may be artistic to other.”

As per a report in the LiveLaw, a two-judge Bench comprising of the High Court further noted that “shocking one’s morals” is an “elusive concept”, and that “one man’s vulgarity is another man’s lyric.”

Kerala High Court refuses to label Malayalam magazine Grihalakshami’s cover of woman breastfeeding as obscene
Malayalam magazine Grihalakshami’s March 1 issue cover that shows model-poet-actress Gilu Joseph breastfeeding a baby.

Dismissing a petition of one Felix M.A., the High Court Bench ruled that it does not see anything obscene in the image. Nor does it find anything objectionable in the caption for men, a report in The Indian Express said. The caption of the picture by the IE reads: Mothers tell Kerala, ‘please don’t stare, we need to breastfeed.’

Breastfeed mag cover

Nothing that the court “looked at the picture with the same eyes we look at the paintings of artists like Raja Ravi Varma,” the Bench ruled that “As the beauty lies in the beholder’s eye, so does obscenity, perhaps.”

Malayalam fortnightly magazine Grihalakshmi had challenged patriarchal and social normals and raked up quite a bit of storm with its March 1 issue cover depicting model-poet-actress Gilu Joseph breastfeeding a baby.

The Grihalakshmi magazine’s cover – in line with its ‘Breastfeed freely’ campaign, as a part of its International Women’s Day theme – was, according to an Indian Express report, inspired by a 23-year-old mother Amritha U. whose picture breastfeeding her child had gone viral on social media in January after her husband posted it on Facebook.

As per LiveLaw, the petitioner in the case, voicing his displeasure with the magazine cover, had contended that it violated provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Rules, as well as Section 45 of the Juvenile Justice Act. He had also alleged violation of provisions of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 and Article 39(e) and (f) of the Indian constitution.

An FIR was lodged against the Grihalakshami magazine and the actress under the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986, as reported by Huffington Post.

However, the High Court Bench did not agree with the petitioner and ruled: “May we observe, Indian psyche has been so mature for ages that it could see the sensuous even in yen sacred. The paintings in Ajanta and the temple architecture are cases in point.”

The Bench further ruled that even the sections charged by the petitioner failed to convince them that the publication committed any offence that affected the “society’s moral fabric”.

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