Video shows self-styled godman instructing woman to wear innerwear.
Mumbai: Controversial self-proclaimed godman Baba Om Ji, also known as S. Sadachari, is facing a new controversy after an obscene video showing him instructing a woman to wear undergarments, while describing how it adds to her beauty, has gone viral.
While legal experts said criminal action was possible in such instances, the police said a complaint is necessary to initiate action. Women’s activists meanwhile stated that suo moto action by the police could trigger charges of moral policing against the force.
“Police is not in loop of the video and there is no complaint to bring it to our notice yet. We will be able to take action if the said woman (seen in the video) or any of the viewers approaches us seeking action,” said Sanjay Saxena, joint commissioner of police (crime).
Police officials said several things needed to be verified in such incidents, including the consent (of the person concerned) and how the clip was leaked.
This is not the first time that Om Ji, whose real name is Vinod Anand Jha, is not courting controversy. He was one of the contestants of reality show ‘Bigg Boss 10’ in 2016. However, he was asked to exit even before being nominated after a Delhi court issued a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against him over a theft case registered by his brother Pramod Jha against the godman.
In the objectionable video in question, Om Ji, clad in saffron outfit, is seen keeping his hand on the head of the young woman. He later narrates how a bra enhances the beauty of any woman and asks her to wear it. A third unidentified person has shot the video, which is around 50 seconds long.
There is another old video of Om Ji dancing with a woman who looks like the one seen in the controversial video. In this video, which is available on the Internet, the woman is wearing a bikini.
Former IPS officer-turned-lawyer Y.P. Singh, meanwhile, said action could be taken as the video is in public domain. “The police can register an FIR (first information report) under charges of obscenity and under the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act as the video is being shared among public. A complainant approaching the police is not necessary,” Mr Singh said.
However, women’s activist Flavia Agnes said that though action can be taken, it is not necessary that it should be taken without a formal complaint. “Action can be taken but if it should be taken is something that is difficult to say as it would be seen as an act of moral policing. It would then mean that the police would have to take action in all such incidents, which would land them at the receiving end,” Ms Agnes said.