Hrithik Roshan
The criminal notice was sent to Hrithik Roshan by Abraham Mathai, the former vice-chairman of the States Minorities Commission (In photo: Hrithik Roshan)Getty

Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan has been issued a legal notice after he tweeted that there were "more chances of him hooking up with Pope then with his co-stars". The actor has been accused of hurting religious sentiments of Catholics in India and across the world.

According to Mid-Day, the criminal notice – under section 295A of India Penal Code, for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs – was sent by Abraham Mathai, former vice-chairman of the States Minorities Commission to the Bang Bang actor on 28 March. Mathai's lawyer Rizwan Siddiquee told NDTV that the legal notice was sent to the actor for "unwarranted and uncalled for comments made against the highly respected Pope Francis on Twitter".

"My client wants a written public apology from Hrithik Roshan within seven days," said the lawyer. Roshan had tweeted in January: "Ther r more chances of me having had an affair with d Pope dan any of d (Im sure wonderful) women d media hs ben naming [sic]."

According to NDTV, the legal notice said: "Our client Dr Abraham Mathai, who is a Christian by birth and faith... is extremely hurt by your disobedient and inexcusable comments, which has hurt the religious feelings and sentiments of majority of Christians across the world.

"We demand Mr Roshan recants his statement and issues an unconditional apology. While we respect Mr Roshan's personal life including his right to choose who he wishes to be in a relationship with, we do take offense at dragging a religious head into it just so attention may be diverted, and the media glare move away."

"Such statements are irresponsible and not called for by a celebrity, thousands of whose fans are from the Catholic community and who believe that the Pope is their religious and revered head," the notice read.