Hurley's Indian wedding an insult, Hindus tell court Tue Apr 10, 12:40 PM ET
JODHPUR, India (AFP) - An Indian court will this week hear testimony that British model Elizabeth Hurley and her husband Arun Nayar mocked Hindu traditions with their "showcase" wedding, a laywer said Tuesday.
A decision whether the glamorous couple should be prosecuted in the desert city of Jodhpur -- where they wed a month ago but may now risk jail -- could come as early as next week, said lawyer Hastimal Saraswat.
The pair staged a lavish ceremony at a Rajasthan fort that was exclusively covered by celebrity magazine Hello!, which reportedly paid two million pounds (3.9 million dollars) for the rights.
But after seeing the pictures in the magazine, an angry Jodhpur resident hired Saraswat to take legal action.
"Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar insulted Hindu tradition and I want them to be severely punished," Vishnu Khandelwal, a devout Hindu who runs a printing press, told AFP Tuesday.
The court has already heard from two witnesses, including Khandelwal, and will hear testimony from at least three more, including a Hindu priest, said lawyer Saraswat.
Khandelwal said he was upset when he saw Hurley and Nayar had taken alcohol prior to the religious rites and kissed near the sacred fire that Hindus hold to be the witness to the marriage.
"They sat on a sofa and they were supposed to sit on the floor," Khandelwal added.
His petition to the court -- which will decide whether or not to prosecute -- also pointed out that Hurley wore leather footwear near the fire, in a land that worships the cow.
"Liz and Nayar had already married in Christian tradition. In spite of this to make a profit they did a showcase marriage in Jodhpur," said Khandelwal.
The couple wed at an English castle prior to heading east for their Indian nuptials.
The bride's own father-in-law is considering testifying against the couple in the case, the lawyer said.
Vinod Nayar told Sunday tabloids in Britain he had severed ties with his son after the younger Nayar ejected him from the marriage proceedings at Hurley's behest.
"He is very upset with Liz," said Saraswat. "He has told us that if you need help in court I will give it."
The petition was filed under section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code, which makes it an offence punishable by three years in jail to "outrage" any group's religion with "deliberate and malicious intention."