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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 - 9:29:27 PM
She said the Mundawar court in Rajasthan on April 20 had ordered an investigation into the episode and barred Gere from leaving India.

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[RxPG] New Delhi, May 15 - The Supreme Court Tuesday halted all criminal proceedings against Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty who has been targeted for a public appearance during which Hollywood actor Richard Gere kissed her on the cheek.

Shetty faces obscenity charges in three lower courts - at Jaipur in Mundwar in Rajasthan and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh - brought by individuals outraged by the fact that Gere had embraced and kissed Shetty on the cheek during an AIDS awareness event here on Apr 15.

A bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan suspended the proceedings on a petition filed by Shetty Monday and issued notices to the complainants seeking their replies on her plea.

In her plea, the glamorous actress said the complaints were 'an abuse of the legal process' and had been filed only to harass and damage her career and reputation.

She said the Gere Foundation was working on a programme to create awareness about the HIV/AIDS crisis in Asia and had launched a Heroes Project in India to mobilise various celebrities in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Shetty said she had been invited by the Heroes Project to address a public event in New Delhi on April 15 to spread awareness among truck drivers - a high-risk group - about HIV/AIDS.

At the function, Gere, while re-enacting a sequence from his 2005 Hollywood movie 'Shall We Dance' hugged and kissed her on the cheek, she said, adding that this was meant to be a spoof.

This hug-and-kiss episode, however, was repeatedly telecast on various television channels, triggering a controversy and leading people to file private complaints at lower courts.

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

On April 26, the Jaipur court had issued summons to her and an arrest warrant against Richard Gere.

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