SC drops criminal proceedings against Gere

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New Delhi, Mar 14: The Supreme Court today virtually dropped criminal proceedings against Hollywood actor and active anti-HIV/AIDS campaigner Richard Gere against whom arrest warrants were issued for publicly hugging and kissing Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty at a function here last year.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice R V Raveendran granted permission to Gere to come to India and also to leave the country whenever he wants. The apex court also stayed the arrest warrant issued against Gere by a Jaipur court. The court severly reprimanded Counsel for the complaint and observed, ''such complaints are publicity hunting.

You are bringing bad name to this country.'' ''A magistrate has no business to prevent a man from entering or leaving the country. And it is for the concerned authorities to decide. You will file complaints if someone embarasses someone.'' The court also made it clear that Gere need not appear before any court in the country.

Application was filed by Gere in transfer petition filed by Ms Shetty for permission to come to India as he wants to meet Tibetian spiritual leader Dalai Lama on March 21.

The court was surprised to see that arrest warrants have been issued against a person, whose address has not even given in the complaint and he was also not served with court summons. The address was later given by the American Embassy.

Ms Shetty is seeking transfer of all such complaint cases to Mumbai.


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