A local court in Vijaywada, Seemandhara has issued a non-bailable warrant to India’s limited overs Captain MS Dhoni for being portrayed as Hindu god Vishnu for a magazine cover. He will have to appear in court on February 25, to explain his stance on the matter.
The case was filed by Shyam Sunder, a local VHP leader in 2014. He objected to a cover posted by Business today in 2013, which depicted Dhoni as the ‘God of Big deals,’ holding various products including a shoe in one of his hands.
Sunder told Sportskeeda, “I am very happy that the court has finally taken the right stance today, that particular picture hurts hindu sentiments. Not just mine, but of several others as well. Even if he was asked to do it, he shouldn’t have gone ahead with it, considering his influential position.”
Gopal Rao, Sunder’s lawyers stated that this is the second time he has been called to court. He said, “The court fast-tracked the case, after Dhoni failed to appear in August last year. Hope he turns up this time.”
While investigating the matter, Justice A N Gowda said, “A celebrity and a cricketer like Dhoni should know the consequences of hurting religious sentiments of people. He should have known the consequences of doing such ads. These celebrities are only signing ads without any responsibility. Their aim is to earn easy money without considering the problems it may create,"
However, the Supreme Court (SC) dismissed the verdict and granted Dhoni a special leave petition for the case. This Karnataka complaint was filed by social activist Jayakumar Hiremath, who accused Dhoni of disrespecting Hindu sentiments. The case was filed under section 295, which indicated insult to a particular religion with the intent to insult its purity. Dhoni failed to acknowledge the court summons and moved to the High Court.
In a statement last year, Dhoni stated, “I haven't received any remuneration/goodwill or money for the news article or for usage of my picture on the cover page or anywhere else. Neither have I posed for the picture which was published in the magazine on April 14, 2013.”
With a total of three cases already filed against the Captain for this issue, it seems Dhoni might finally have to appear in court to prove his innocence. Only time will tell whether the Supreme Court will differ the decision this time as well.