Allahabad HC has rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Amazon Prime India Originals head Aparna Purohit. The court ruled in its denial of protection to Purohit on 25 February that filmmakers in the West have refrained from ridiculing Lord Jesus or Prophet Mohammed but Hindi filmmakers do this repeatedly and are still doing this most unabashedly with Hindu gods and goddesses.
The Allahabad High Court said it had taken notice of the fact that a number of movies had been produced, which had used names of Hindu gods and goddesses and shown them in a disrespectful manner. The court cited films Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Satyam Shivam Sundram, PK, Oh My God, etc in the context.
The Allahabad High Court said that was not all that the filmmakers did. It noted that efforts had been made to subvert the image of historical and mythological personalities in productions such as Padmaavat. Names and icons of faith of the majority community had been used to earn money as in Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram Leela, the judge noted.
While rejecting the plea, Justice Siddharth noted that “the sentiments of majority community have been hurt by display of the characters of their faith in disrespectful manner and on the other hand, an attempt has been made to widen the gap between the higher castes and the scheduled castes, when the object of the State is to bridge the gap between the different castes and communities”.
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, the Allahabad High Court observed.
The court said that there appeared to be a design behind such acts on the part of the people who just issued a disclaimer in all the films while depicting things in the movies that are really religiously, socially and communally offensive in nature.
“Puruhoit had not been vigilant & acted irresponsibly making her open to criminal prosecution in permitting streaming of a movie which is against the fundamental rights of the majority of citizens& thus her fundamental right of life and liberty cannot be protected,” the court said.
Differing in view with another court, the Allahabad High Court said that the state of affairs was worsening as was evident from the fact that an obscure stand-up comedian, Munawar Faruqui from Gujarat, made comments on Hindu gods and goddesses in a new year show in Indore and gained undue publicity on being arrested in a case.
This shows that from films this trend has passed to comedy shows, the court noted. Such people make revered figures of the religion of the majority community a source of their earning, the high court said.
Purohit had approached the High Court after a First Information Report (FIR) was filed by the Uttar Pradesh Police against her for offences under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295 (defiling place of worship), 295A (hurting religious sentiments), 505(1)(b), 505(2) (statements conducive to public mischief) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 66 and 67 of the Information Technology Act. The court said that the case against Aparna Purohoit under Sections 295-A, 153-A(b), 505(1)(b) and 505(2) IPC was established.
The Allahabad High Court said that while Aparna Purohit had been granted interim protection from arrest by the order dated 11 February 2021 by a co-ordinate bench, she was not cooperating with the investigation agency. On 22 February, this very court had directed her to appear before the investigating officer at the police station concerned on 23 February but she failed to comply with the order.
This conduct of the applicant, the court said, showed that she had scant regard for the law of the land and that her conduct further disentitled her to any relief from the court — since cooperation with the investigation agency was a necessary condition for grant of anticipatory bail.
The Allahabad High Court, while rejecting the anticipatory bail plea by Amazon Prime Video head in the Tandav case, said that the web series was against a fundamental right of the majority of citizens. Aside from Purohit, FIRs were also registered against Director of Tandav, Ali Abbas Zafar, Producer Himanshu Mehra and Writer Gaurav Solanki.