Supreme Court has lifted the complete gag order of Kerala High Court restricting activist Rehana Fathima from posting or publishing her views in either social media, print or electronic media. She was accused of ill-motivation in using the term “Gomatha” to refer to a beef dish during a cookery show.
However, the Supreme Court bench led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman retained the second part of the High Court order which restricts Fathima from publishing any content through the medium of social media or print which can hurt the religious sentiments.
Now, the activist, who also got criticised for entering Sabarimala temple in 2018 and posting a Youtube video with objectionable material, can now post and share her views through social media or by print media which are not hurtful to the religious sentiments.
Referring to the High Court’s order, the top court bench said, “It is a complete gag order.”
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves had earlier prayed to quash the Kerala High Court order which had banned Fathima from sharing her views through any medium after the court felt that she violated bail conditions.
In November 2020, Kerala High Court ordered a blanket ban after Fathima uploaded a video clip of a cookery show where she used the term “gomatha” to a beef based dish.
“There cannot be any dispute the term… is commonly understood with reference to the holy, or sacred cow… use of the term ‘Gomatha’ as a synonym for meat… is prima facie likely to wound the religious feelings of those believers,” said the High Court order.
The order further added, “Choice of the word ‘Gomatha’ prima facie appears to be ill-motivated… uploading of such a highly objectionable video may affect the fundamental right of devotees.”
“Till the trial is over the accused shall not directly, indirectly or through any other person publish, transmit, share, upload or disseminate or publish any material or any of her comments through any visual and electronic media open to the public,” said the November 23, 2020 order of High Court.
In June 2020, Kerala police registered an FIR against Rehana Fathima in connection to a Youtube video in which her children were painting her semi-nude body. She also got into massive controversy in 2018 after the Supreme Court lifted the ban from entry of women to Sabarimala temple. She was criticized for publishing derogatory material on Lord Ayyappa of Sabarimala.