Sunday, December 3, 2006

News of the overly litigious

Handpainted Just when you thought Americans were absurdly overeager to use and abuse the legal system, The Hindu reminds us that it takes all kinds.

Two headlines on page 10 of the Delhi edition today: "AC too cold, rail passenger can move forum," and "Case against Aishwarya Rai."

In the first, the reporter relays, "The Central Information Commission has...asked a 70-year-old passenger to approach the Consumer Forum for refund of fare from the Railway Board as air-conditioning in his coach was 'uncomfortably cold.'" Isn't air conditioning supposed to be cold? And, if you've ever been in an air conditioned place before, and you know that you don't like how cold it gets, shouldn't you bring, perhaps, a jacket or a blanket to keep you warm?

I may have a personal beef; at work, it drove me insane all summer, because the office was kept at a rather chilly temperature, and every day, you could expect that you would be cold, and thus logic dictates that carrying a shawl or a jumper is necessary, or, at the very least, a good backup. Instead, these women would come to work and spend at least a few hours every day nagging the building's guards, complaining about how cold they were, and sipping endless chais. Oh, how I wanted to wring their necks. I digress.

Exhibit B is related to Ash and Dhoom 2. PTI reports, "A case has been filed against Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai and actor Hrithik Roshan for an alleged obscene sequence in the recently released film, Dhoom 2.

"The case was filed in the court...under Sections 292 (vulgarity) and 509 (derogatory to women) of the Indian Penal Code. The complainant has alleged that women felt offended after watching the scene and that it promoted vulgarity in society, especially among youth."

I object to legal restrictions on vulgarity for this very reason; while some woman in Indore might think it's harmful, others might think it's perfectly innocuous. How many other actors and actresses have performed item numbers (big, splashout, ridiculous coordinated musical intervals in scanty costumes) without being persecuted in this way? Is it really necessary?

I've lost my train of thought, so I'll end the rant. I just wish that people would keep to themselves a little bit more; if you're cold, bring a jumper (and if you can afford a ticket in an AC car, you can most likely afford protection against the cold). If you find something vulgar, avoid it, don't let your children watch it, tell your friends that you don't like it. Is this personal quibbling really a matter for courts?

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