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Gere Cleared to Enter India After Public Affection

•  Court News     updated  2008/03/14 13:46

The court judge said "this is the end of the matter" and that Gere was free to enter India.

Last year, arrest warrants were issued for Gere after he embraced and kissed Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty during a public appearance.

Kissing in public is widely considered taboo in India.

Gere plans to visit India soon and his lawyer had appealed to the court to stop the arrest warrants against him.

In 2007, a court in the western state of Rajasthan ordered the arrest of Gere for sweeping Shetty into his arms at an Aids awareness event in Delhi.

It also wanted the actress to appear in court over charges that she did not resist Gere's advances. Two other similar cases were filed.

The Hollywood actor initially dismissed the row as "nothing", but later apologised for causing any offence.

'Cheap publicity'

"Richard Gere is free to enter the country. This is the end of the matter," a two-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, KG Balakrishnan, said.

The judges said the court believed that such complaints (against celebrities) were "frivolous" and filed for "cheap publicity".

The complainants "have brought a bad name to the country", the court said.

It suspended the arrest warrants. Correspondents say that the cases now have no chance of succeeding if the litigants try to pursue them in lower courts.

Shetty shot into the global limelight after being the victim of alleged racist bullying and insults on the UK's Celebrity Big Brother. She went on to win the contest.

Gere, a practising Buddhist, is a frequent visitor to India and has met the Dalai Lama several times. He has also become involved in the fight against Aids/HIV.

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