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FPJ Legal: Grave offence, says Bombay high court, rejects Gehana Vasisth’s pre-arrest bail application in porn film racket

03:24 PM Sep 08, 2021 | Urvi Mahajani

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has rejected anticipatory bail of actor-director Gehana Vasisth in the third First Information Report (FIR) filed against her in the porn film racket case observing that “the allegations constitute grave offence” and hence it was “not a fit case to grant pre-arrest bail”.

Justice Sandeep Shinde rejected the application on Tuesday observing that many persons were involved besides Vasisth which needs to probed. “Obviously, the allegations suggest involvement of many persons on the screen and on off the screen,” said justice Shinde.

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The HC was hearing an application filed by Vasisth seeking anticipatory bail in the third First Information Report (FIR) filed against her early this year, pertaining to alleged offence of February 2020.

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“The first evaluation of the FIR suggest, that besides applicant (Vasisth), many more persons are involved in the crime, who in-connivance with each other managed to shoot pornographic material by exploiting the small time actress and/or aspiring female actress by promising them roles in web-series. Herein, the allegations are that the Applicant was called for audition and forced to perform intimate scenes, which is a form of, ‘sexual exploitation’, within the meaning of Section 370 of IPC (Indian Penal Code),” observed Justice Shinde.

The FIR was filed on a complaint by a woman alleging that Vasisth forced her and other small time actors to perform nude scenes based on a forged contract.

The HC also agreed with the prosecution booking Vasisth for trafficking by observing: “… the allegations in the complaint, prima facie constitute the ‘exploitation’ which includes, sexual exploitation in any form.”

Vasisth’s advocate Abhishek Yende argued section 370 couldn’t be invoked since there was a video recording of the woman giving a no objection for shooting the video and an agreement was signed by the parties. Yende argued that the complainant agreed to shoot for the film on “own volition, free will and not pursuant to inducement, force and coercion”.

Also Read: 'Is this porn?' asks Gehana Vasisth as she goes nude on Instagram LIVE after defending Raj Kundra

Dismissing the arguments, justice Shinde noted that as per Section 370 consent of the victim to perform bold scenes was immaterial. “… the consent of the victim is immaterial in determination of the offence of trafficking. This explanation ousts the possibility of accused, taking the defence of consent of victim to any act of physical exploitation or other form of sexual exploitation,” observed the HC.

Additional public prosecutor Prajakta Shinde had argued that custodial interrogation of Vasisth was required to unearth the pornography racket since there are more than one persons who in connivance, are/were sexually exploiting the victims, who were small time actresses. Besides, Vasisth has more than once case registered against her which on the face of it, constitute the offence of trafficking of person.

While rejecting the anticipatory bail of Vasisth, the HC observed: “The victims were black mailed with fake contracts and forced into doing semi-nude scenes in the name of bold scenes. A large conspiracy appears to have been hatched in making pornographic material and the aspiring actresses were pushed to engage in the sexual acts.”

Vasisth has been booked under Sections 354C (outraging modesty of woman), 292, 293 (sale of obscene material) of the Indian Penal Code, Sections 66E, 67, 67A (transmission of sexually explicit material) of the Information Technology Act and provisions of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act. Prosecution has made an application before the lower court to invoke Section 370 against Vasisth.

Businessman and Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty’s husband Raj Kundra is also an accused in another FIR in the porn film case.

Also Read: Pornography Case: Bombay HC denies anticipatory bail to Gehana Vasisth, actress to move SC

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