The Delhi High Court on August 13, 2019, gave its go-ahead to the release of John Abraham starer ‘Batla House’ on August 15, 2019, subject to few changes in the film.
A Single Judge Bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru passed the order in a petition filed by two accused persons, Ariz Khan and Shehzad Ahmed in the encounter operation conducted in September 2008 in Batla House locality in Jamia Nagar, Delhi.
The petitioners had sought to postpone the release of the film till the trial against them is pending.
The court directed the makers of Batla House to carry the following modifications in the film to address concerns of a fair trial raised by the petitioners and other accused in the Batla House encounter:
- At the beginning of the film, a disclaimer shall be carried clarifying that the film is inspired by Delhi Police and other documents/details of events available in the public domain. It is further to be clarified that the movie is not a documentary but a work of fiction. The disclaimer shall also clarify that the film respects the process of fair trial and does not intend to interfere in the administration of justice by discrediting anyone.
- The scene depicting the confession of one of the characters in the film shall be deleted.
- The bomb-making scene shall be completely deleted.
- The word “mujahideen” shall be muted in the scene pertaining to the confession of one of the characters.
- A disclaimer shall be inserted to clarify that the filmmakers do not endorse the views of either of the sides i.e. the Delhi Police and the accused in the film.
- The last scene showing the actual photo of the Delhi Police Officer who spearheaded the Batla House operation shall also be deleted.
The petitioners had moved the court alleging that the makers of the film “willfully and deliberately” ignored the pending legal processes and portrayed definitive account and findings surrounding the Batla House encounter, thus affecting the accused persons’ right to free and fair trial.
The petitioners submitted that although the courts discharge their duty in a fair and free manner and are not likely to be influenced by a movie, a movie claiming to be “inspired by true events” was likely to cause prejudice to the trial and appeal.
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