NEWS
22/06/2018 9:40 AM IST | Updated 22/06/2018 9:59 AM IST

Malayalam Magazine’s Cover Of A Woman Breastfeeding Is Not Obscene, Kerala High Court Rules

Eye of the beholder.

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The magazine cover of a woman breastfeeding a child is not "obscene," the Kerala High Court has ruled.

"What may be obscene to some, may be artistic to other, one man's vulgarity is another man's lyric," the court said, as quoted by The Indian Express.

In February, the cover photo of actor Gilu Joseph breastfeeding in a Malayalam magazine named "Grihalalakshmi" stoked a huge controversy.

The magazine publisher, M.V. Shreyams Kumar, said the cover was aimed at removing social stigmas around breastfeeding.

"So many women have told us that they can't breastfeed their children without inviting stares," he said, earlier this year. "It is a natural beautiful thing that a mother does with her child. If some people see something objectionable, in this, they are the ones with the problem."

The image caption reads: Mothers tell Kerala, 'please don't stare, we need to breastfeed."

A case was registered against the magazine and the actor by advocate Vinod Mathew in a court in Kerala and they were charged under the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986.

The two judge bench of Antony Dominic and Dama Seshadri Naidu said, "We looked at the picture with the same eyes we look at the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. As beauty lies in the beholder's eye , so does, obscenity perhaps."

"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," they said.

In an interview with The Indian Express in March, Joseph, 27, said, "It is a problem to interpret this sexually. Isn't it a beautiful thing? Why would you think it's wrong? Which god will you offend by feeding your child."

Those opposing the photo noted that Joseph was not pregnant and asked why she had posed for the cover photo.

Joseph also revealed that her family had opposed her doing the photoshoot, especially her sister, who is a nun.

The actor said that she said respected her family's opinion, but added, "I am extremely proud of my body and only I can have rights over it."

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