Shilpa Shetty wants Supreme Court to drop charges against Richard Gere

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty appealed to the Supreme Court on Monday to quash an arrest warrant issued against her and Hollywood star Richard Gere on charges of violating India's obscenity laws, a media report said.

The court was scheduled to hear the appeal Tuesday, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Court officials could not immediately be reached and a spokesman for Shetty declined to comment.

A judge in the city of Jaipur issued the warrant last month for both Gere and Shetty after a kiss at a public AIDS awareness event in New Delhi.

Public displays of affection are largely taboo in India, and the kiss drew an outcry among Hindu hard-liners, with rallies against the actors held in several cities. But the judge's arrest order also drew harsh criticism in India, with some lawyers saying it had no legal merit and made the country look ridiculous.

Gere, 57, apologized for any offense he may have caused. But he also said the whole controversy was manufactured by a small hard-line political party.

Gere, who left shortly after the kiss, is a frequent visitor to India, promoting health issues and the cause of Tibetan exiles. The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has his headquarters in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala.

Shetty, a well-known actress in India, became an international star after her appearance on the British reality show "Celebrity Big Brother."

A fellow contestant, Jade Goody, sparked international headlines by allegedly making racist comments to Shetty, 31. The comments sparked public outrage in Britain and India and Shetty went on to win the competition.

The judge who issued the warrant has since been transferred from his post.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova