Here's an aspect of the Gere drama that I haven't seen covered anywhere. What can be done to prevent a bigoted or incompetent or just plain publicity hungry judicial official among thousands in one part of India from hassling celebrities in any other part of the country?
When protests and demonstrations were staged following Richard Gere's playfully tangling with Shilpa Shetty at an AIDs awareness gathering, I was embarassed as an Indian but not particularly bothered. After all there will always be the ultra conservatives and whackos in a country of a billion plus. Their right to free speech even if distasteful to me and contrary to majority view is an affirmation of our democratic values.
But it is very different when one magistrate (or subordinate judge) sitting in Jaipur issues arrest warrants and initiates proceedings for something that occurred in Delhi. The merits of the action aside just because media footage is aired in some place should not give the local judiciary the authority to summon or proceed against people who were never within their physical jurisdiction. For interstate occurrences there should be a clear single jurisdiction court. That way you need to only depend on the good sense and judgement of that court instead of being hostage to the whims or shenanigans of any one of the thousands of courts.
The required long term remedy needs legislative action by Parliament perhaps in consultation with the Judiciary and they should get to it. They can include some other pressing reforms like rolling back this rash of public interest litigation into this effort - but that's for a separate discussion.
Meanwhile, the additional chief judicial magistrate who acted against Gere and Shetty is Dinesh Gupta who has since been transferred out of Jaipur to a small little town.
That is a good step but - as we were repeatedly told in government while I was part of it - a transfer should not be taken as any punishment. There should be some official proceedings to discipline this judge and affect his career and service records, That will deter similar actions by others. But the judiciary tends to be protective of its own and I wouldn't hold my breath on this happening.
The superior courts should also take "suo motto" (on their own) notice and quash the groundless proceedings without requiring the defendants to jump through further procedural hoops.