The Supreme Court has turned down the plea for protection for makers and actors of web series ‘Tandav.’ The plea was filed by the director Ali Abbas Zafar and actors Saif Ali Khan and Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub among others.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan only issued a notice on clubbing of various FIRs registered across the country and asked actor Zeeshan Ayyub and others to move to High Courts for quashing of FIRs or bail in relation to the case.
Senior Advocate Fali S. Nariman requested an order of no coercive action against the cast and producers of the web series. However, the bench refused to grant relief. ‘Approach High Court,’ said the top court.
During the hearing, the apex court noted that it may consider the request for clubbing the FIRs, but it cannot take the power of the High Court under CrPC.
The observation was made after senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi requested the court to grant the petitioners no coercive step order, club the FIRS and issue notice to the parties.
The top court also observed that freedom of speech was not absolute during its hearing on pleas seeking a stay on FIRs against actors and producers of ‘Tandav’ which released on Amazon Prime earlier this month.
Luthra argued that the director of the web series is being harassed. “Is this way liberty should be protected in the country and FIRs are being filed across the country,” he added. The bench observed that the right to freedom of speech is not absolute and it is subjected to restrictions.
Nariman submitted that apologies have been made, and despite that several FIRs have been filed in six states. Justice Bhushan replied: “You want the FIRs to be quashed, then why can`t you approach the High Courts?”
Nariman said the web series makers have removed the objectionable content and still there are cases being filed against them. The top court questioned, why petitioners have moved the court under Article 32.
The bench said the police can file closure reports too if apologies have been made.
The initial FIR was filed against Zafar and others for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of people. Zafar, on behalf of the cast and crew, had issued an unconditional apology and assured that changes would be made in the series after seeking advice from the I&B Ministry.
The multi-starrer show features Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Sunil Grover, Tigmanshu Dhulia and Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub among others.
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