The Allahabad High Court on Thursday rejected Aparna Purohit's plea seeking anticipatory bail in an FIR filed against the makers of the web series Tandav. Purohit, Content Head of Amazon's Prime Video, is accused of hurting religious sentiments.
The Allahabad bench of the high court noted that despite getting relief from the Lucknow bench in a similar FIR filed in Hazratganj, Lucknow Purohit was not co-operating with the investigation. "This conduct of the applicant shows that she has scant respect for the law of the land and her conduct further disentitles her to any relief from this Court, since co-operation with investigation is a necessary condition for grant of anticipatory bail," Justice Siddharth noted in his order.
Apart from taking all "sorts of technical grounds" against the offences alleged against her, Purohit also acted irresponsibly and opened herself to prosecution by permitting the streaming of a web series that was against the fundamental rights of the majority of citizens of this country, the court observed.
Justice Siddharth's 20-page order is a scathing indictment of Tandav and is replete with observations on the depiction of Gods and Goddesses in the movies and its subjection to ridicule in "popular culture".
Significantly, the judge observed that scenes from Tandav indicate they were made intentionally "using the names of Hindu Gods and Sage (Narad Muni) to convey an insidious message". A perusal of the dialogues from the web series shows that it intended to incite any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community.
Furthermore, the charge for hurting religious sentiments is also made out since Purohit's act was "prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious, social and communal groups and would affect public peace and tranquility."
"On the one hand, 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 and make the country a united force socially, communally and politically," the judge noted in his order.
BOOM extracts excerpts from the verdict.
1) "…it is an onerous duty of every citizen to respect the feelings of the people of other faith even while making a fiction. The irresponsible conduct against the inherent mandate of the Constitution of India by anyone affecting the fundamental rights of the large number of citizens cannot be acquiesced to only because of the tendering of unconditional apology after committing the alleged act of crime and indiscretion."
2) "The reference to Hindu Gods and Goddesses in the scenes in dispute in berating light cannot be justified. The advice of Sage Narad to Lord Shiva to make some inflammatory tweet on the Twitter like all the students of the campus becoming traitors and raising slogans of freedom clearly alludes to the incidents which took place in Jawaharlal Nehru University and therefore, it can be considered to be a message of hate advanced through the movie."
3) "The alluding to Lord Rama gaining popularity on social media is clear pointer to the dispute regarding the construction of Lord Ram's temple. The dialogue between the two Hindu Gods in episode 1 is shown in a very insidious manner. Devakinandan (a character from the show) is abusing the man of lower caste working as a cobbler. Comment has been made regarding grant of reservation to scheduled castes."
4) "The use of the word "TANDAV" as the name of the movie can be offensive to the majority of the people of this country since this word is associated with a particular act assigned to Lord Shiva who is considered to be creator, conservator and destroyer of the mankind all together"
5) "…whenever such crimes are committed by some citizens of the country, like the applicant and her co-accused persons and it is made the subject matter of demonstration and public protest, the forces inimical to the interest of this country become active and they make it an issue and raise it before different national and international forums alleging that the Indian citizens have become intolerant and "India" has become unsafe place to live."
6) "Even in the liberal democracies of the West, it becomes a topic of debate and the Indian diplomacy has to face tough time protecting the interest of the country and assuring the international community that the protests made against such acts are stray and genuine and it is not mark of any intolerance in the country as a whole."
7) "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 Godesses."
8) "Things are worsening as is evident from the fact that an obscure stand-up comedian, Munawar Faruqui, from Gujarat made comments on Hindu God and Godesses in a new year show at Indore and gained undue publicity on being arrested in a case. This shows that from films this trend has passed to comedy shows. Such people make the revered figures of religion of majority community source of earning money in most brazen manner taking benefit of the liberal and tolerant tradition of country."
9) This Court further takes notice of the fact that number of movies have been produced which have used the name of Hindu Gods and Goddesses and shown them in disrespectful manner (Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Satyam Shivam Sundram, P.K., Oh My God, etc.). Not only this, efforts have been made to subvert the image of historical and mythological personalities (Padmavati)."
10) "Names and icons of faith of majority community have been used to earn money (Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram Leela). 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."
11) "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."
12) "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. Film industry in south has not indulged in such acts like the Hindi film industry."
Updated On: 2021-02-26T18:23:19+05:30