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Richard Gere not obscene, rules Indian court

Shilpa Shetty kiss outrage case shown the door

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India's Supreme Court has thrown out an obscenity charge against the Dalai Lama's thesp chum Richard Gere, provoked by the campaigning actor's "repeated kisses on [Shilpa] Shetty's cheeks at an event to promote AIDS awareness in New Delhi" in April last year.

The uninhibited Gere-on-Bollywood-Babe action was declared by some Hindu groups "an outrage against her modesty and an affront to Indian culture", and they quickly vented their anger by burning and kicking straw effigies of the pair in countrywide protests.

Gere and Shetty protested their innocence, but a Jaipur judge watched a video of the alleged offence, promptly found Gere "guilty of violating Indian laws against public obscenity", and ordered both of them arrested.

Gere escaped an indignant cuffing since he'd left the country by the time the order came for his incarceration, but since he "plans to visit India soon", as the BBC explains, his lawyer "appealed to the court to stop the arrest warrants against him".

A two-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, KG Balakrishnan, declared: "Richard Gere is free to enter the country. This is the end of the matter."

The court further described such anti-celeb legal complaints as "frivolous" and filed for "cheap publicity". They have also "brought a bad name to the country", the judges lamented. ®

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