The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Govt told to chase skirts, again

Mumbai, April 5: State lawmakers’ obsession with the Lakme Fashion Week slip-ups continued today with the government being asked to re-investigate them despite a police clean chit.

The government is bound by the legislative council’s directive, which raised the possibility of a code of conduct for the fashion industry and restrictions on the media.

Model Carol Gracias’s bodice and Gauhar Khan’s skirt had slipped while they were walking the ramp last week. The police yesterday said the lapses were unintentional and home minister R.R. Patil lauded the models’ presence of mind in covering their bodies quickly after the “accidents”.

The lawmakers’ earlier call for a probe ' and the current one for a re-investigation ' come amid public criticism that they have been discussing “wardrobe malfunctions” instead of the farmer suicides and looming power crisis.

It’s not clear who would conduct the new probe, but the legislators said the issue was one of obscenity, especially because the pictures were beamed on TV and circulated as multi-media messages (MMS). They suggested camera phones not be allowed at fashion shows.

“The police report only focuses on (whether) the incidents were accidental. But they violated the anti-obscenity laws when the TV channels repeatedly played the clips. If these clips are circulated as MMS, it is a violation of the IT Act,” Neelam Gorhe of the Shiv Sena said.

It was Sena member Pramod Navalkar, a former culture minister who had got two models booked for a nude shoe ad, who raised the issue in the house. He questioned the police inquiry, alleging it was a slapdash job done without questioning the models and event organisers.

He found strong support from women members Gorhe and Sudha Joshi (Sena), Manda Mhatre and Fawzia Khan (NCP), Sanjeevani Raikar and Kanta Nalawade (BJP).

Gorhe and Nalawade demanded action against the TV channels, citing a December 2005 Bombay High Court order that, they said, makes the state government responsible for adult content on TV and in print.

The probe’s terms of reference are unclear but the six women legislators led by Gorhe have written to chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh demanding a high-level committee be set up for the job.

But BJP leader and well-known designer Shaina N.C. said: “Political parties should not get involved in fashion-related issues. Fashion is an art form.” She, however, backed her party colleagues’ criticism of the media for repeatedly beaming the images of the slip-ups.

“Malfunctions never happened to me. It has never happened to designers like Wendell Rodrigues and Sabyasachi because they go into so much detail when they are presenting their work,” she said.

“The fashion world certainly needs to introspect.”

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