The Anticipatory bail
plea by the head of Amazon Prime Video
’s in India, Aparna Purohit,
was declined by the Allahabad High Court
this Thursday ( February 25, 2021).
The petitioner was accused of inappropriate depiction of Uttar Pradesh police personnel, Hindu deities as well as an adverse portrayal of a character playing the PM in the web series “Tandav”
in the ongoing investigation against the show. Justice Siddarth
observed that though Purohit was granted interim protection previously on a similar issue, she is seen not to be co-operative hence the bail on this occasion stands rejected by the HC.
The Counsel representing the State Government put forth their argument, bringing to notice that a total of 4 criminal complaints and 10 FIR’s have been filed all across the country regarding the same web series. It was not just one person being effected, rather several persons all around the country felt offended by the content and therefore lodged such complaints.
The State counsel added, "It is not a stray case of some over-sensitive individual lodging the FIR against the applicant and other co-accused persons regarding objectionable character and content of the web series in dispute”.
The petitioner, Aparna Purohit, in her plea, submitted that the web series was made with no intention of offending anyone or outraging religious sentiments of any community but was a mere work of fiction. After deliberation, the Court commented, “The basic philosophy of the Constitution is to permit the people of all faith to practice, profess and propagate their religion freely without hurting or acting against the people who profess or practice different religious faith than theirs. Therefore, it is an onerous duty of every citizen to respect the feelings of the people of other faith even while making a fiction.”
Giving example of Western filmmakers, the Court observed, “Western filmmakers have refrained from ridiculing Lord Jesus or the Prophet but Hindi filmmakers have done this repeatedly and still doing this most unabashedly with the Hindu Gods and Goddesses” , adding that, “the scenes in dispute are likely to cause disturbance and threats to public order. The reference to Hindu Gods and Goddesses in the scenes in dispute in berating light cannot be justified.”
The Court showed concern in the rising instances of such tendencies of insensitivity by the Hindu Film Industry, the judgement reading, “This tendency on the part of the Hindi film industry is growing and if not curbed in time, it may have disastrous consequences for the Indian social, religious and communal order. There appears to be a design behind such acts on the part of the people who just give a disclaimer in all the films and depict things in the movies which are really religiously, socially and communally offensive in nature. The young generation of the country, which is not much aware of the social and cultural heritage of this country, gradually starts believing what is shown in the movies by the people like the accused persons in the present movie in dispute and thereby, it destroys the basic concept of the survival of this country having tremendous diversity of all kinds as a united nation. The film industry in the south has not indulged in such acts like the Hindi film industry."
The court declared, “Her fundamental right of life and liberty cannot be protected by grant of anticipatory bail to her in the exercise of discretionary powers of this Court”.
It was noted that the petitioner has not acted responsible by allowing to stream a web series that seems to go against the Fundamental rights of the majority in the country thus making her open to possible criminal prosecution.