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Last Updated: May 20, 2007 - 10:48:48 AM
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Apex court halts criminal proceedings against Shilpa
May 15, 2007 - 6:24:58 PM
On April 26, the Jaipur court issued summons to her and an arrest warrant against Richard Gere, while the Ghaziabad court issued summons to her on May 1, Shilpa had said in her petition to the court.

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[RxPG] New Delhi, May 15 - The Supreme Court Tuesday halted all criminal proceedings against Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty initiated by various courts in the country for the controversial on-stage pecks Hollywood star Richard Gere planted on her cheek during a public show here.

A bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan suspended the proceedings on a petition filed by Shilpa Monday seeking either annulment or transfer to a Mumbai court of all the proceedings initiated in three subordinate courts at Jaipur and Mundwar in Rajasthan and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.

The bench, with Justice R.V. Raveendran also on it, issued notices to various private complainants seeking their replies on Shilpa's plea.

In her plea, the actress submitted that three lower courts had initiated criminal proceedings against her for the same incident - the on-stage kisses by Gere during an AIDS awareness programme in the capital April 15.

The Gere kisses had triggered strong protests in several cities across the country.

In her petition, Shilpa said the Gere Foundation was working on a programme to create awareness about the dreaded Human Immunodeficiency Virus - and Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome - crisis in Asia. She said the foundation had also started the `Heroes Project' in India to mobilise various celebrities to fight the scourge of HIV/AIDS.

The actress said she had been invited at the behest of the Heroes Project to address a meeting at Delhi on April 15 to create awareness among truck drivers about HIV/AIDS.

At the function, Gere, while reliving a moment from his Hollywood movie 'Shall We Dance' - hugged and kissed her on the cheek, she said adding that this was meant to be a spoof from the said movie.

This was, however, repeatedly telecast on various television channels, triggering a controversy and leading people to file private complaints at lower courts in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

She said the Mundawar court in Rajasthan on April 20 ordered investigation into the episode and barred Gere from leaving the country.

On April 26, the Jaipur court issued summons to her and an arrest warrant against Richard Gere, while the Ghaziabad court issued summons to her on May 1, Shilpa had said in her petition to the court.

She contended that the complaints were an abuse of the legal process and had been filed only to harass and make her run from pillar to post and damage her career and reputation.

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