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'Wink girl' Priya Varrier can breathe easy: SC stays criminal proceedings

Priya's lawyer Harris Beeran told the court that there has been no case filed against her in Kerala though

IANS  |  New Delhi 

priya prakash varrier
Priya Prakash Varrier in a scene from the film.

The on Wednesday stayed all criminal actions by Telangana and Maharashtra against Malayalam actress and restrained all other states from taking any action based on the song "..".

Staying the criminal action on an FIR and complaints in both states, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said that action could not be initiated in other states as well.

Priya's lawyer Harris Beeran told the court that there has been no case filed against her in Kerala though.

The stay order will cover the producer and the director of the film which is helmed by Omar Lulu.

Priya shot to fame following her 'wink song' from the film "Oru Addar Love".

Some Muslim activists had lodged an FIR against the team of "Oru Adaar Love" in Hyderabad under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code on February 14, for hurting religious sentiments.

A group in Maharashtra's Aurangabad had also filed four police complaint against Varrier and Lulu on the same grounds.

The contentious scene where Priya winks at a boy features the Mappila lyrics -- a traditional Muslim song from the Malabar region of Kerala -- that celebrate the love between Prophet Mohammed and his first wife Khadija.

The complainants had primarily objected to the use of Mappila as background music in the flirting scene.

Priya told the court that the song, which went viral online and is picturised on her, has been in existence for the last 40 years.

Varrier, who stole the heart of the nation with her cute antics in a song of an upcoming Malyalam movie, had moved seeking quashing of the FIRs against her and the director of the film.

The actress, film director Omar Lulu and others had sought for an ex-parte stay on the FIR and police complaints, and also appropriate orders restraining other states from registering such FIRs.

On Monday, Varrier's counsel Pallavi Pratap had told the apex court that the criminal complaints instituted by "various fringe groups" are based on a "distorted and incorrect interpretation of the song".

"The claims that it hurts the religious sentiments of the Muslim community are without any basis," it said.

Stressing that an amount of Rs 15 million has been spent on the movie, the plea said "such flimsy and baseless complaints and FIRs cause nothing but hindrance in freedom of speech".

The petition had said it was "hard to fathom" that a song which has been in existence "for the past 40 years... was cherished by the Muslim community in Kerala is now being treated as an insult... it cannot suddenly offend the religious sentiment of the Muslim community".

First Published: Wed, February 21 2018. 13:48 IST