In what appears to be a major relief for India's ODI captain, the Supreme Court on 14 September stayed criminal proceedings initiated against MS Dhoni for hurting religious sentiments for being portrayed as Lord Vishnu in a magazine cover.
The Bench led by Justice PC Ghose also tagged his petition with plea of TV Today group head Aroon Purie who had also moved the court in the same case. Purie was named in complaint for being editor-in-chief of Business Today magazine whose cover had portrayed Dhoni as Lord Vishnu in 2013.
Titled 'The God of Big Deals', Dhoni was seen holding different products he endorsed including a shoe in his hands. The cover had landed the Indian skipper in hot water with a complaint seeking registration of an FIR against Dhoni and the editor of the magazine for allegedly insulting Hindu religion.
Earlier in August, the Karnataka High Court was critical of India's ODI captain and stated that it was a tendency of celebrities signing ads just for money without giving a thought to the consequences.
"A celebrity and a cricketer like Dhoni should know the consequences of hurting the religious sentiments of people. He should have known the consequences of doing such ads," Justice AN Venugopal Gowda said in his oral observation on 10 August.
"These celebrities are only signing ads without any responsibility. Their aim is to earn easy money without considering the problems it may create," he added.
The Sixth Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) had registered a case under section 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) along with 34 of Indian Penal Code after Jayakumar Hiremath, a social activist, had alleged that Dhoni was seen on the cover of a business magazine as Lord Vishnu, holding several things, including a shoe in his hands.
Taking cognisance of the complaint filed by Hiremath, the Sixth Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) had registered a case under section 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) along with 34 of Indian Penal Code against Dhoni.
Later, the ACMM issued summons to Dhoni to appear before the court, which he did not and instead moved the High Court against its direction.