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Can’t hurt sentiments, your freedom of speech not absolute: SC to web-series Tandav makers

By Anuj Cariappa
Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, Jan 27: The Supreme Court has rejected a plea filed by the makers of the web series Tandav seeking protection against arrest.

While issuing notices on clubbing of the FIRs, the court asked actor Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub to approach the high courts for quashing of FIRs or seeking bail.


The SC observed that prima facie it is not in favour of staying the FIRs against the actors and makers of Tandav. The court only observed that the makers should go to the high courts and seek quashing of the FIRs.

The Bench said, 'your freedom of speech is not absolute. You cannot play the role of the character that hurts the sentiments of a community, the Bench also said.

A batch of petitions had sought quashing of criminal complaints lodged in various states against Ali Abbas Zafar, the Director of web series ''Tandav'', and others for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus.

Besides Zafar, Amazon Prime India head Aparna Purohit, producer Himanshu Mehra, the show''s writer Gaurav Solanki and actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub have filed three separate petitions against the registration of FIRs in states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

A bench comprising justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah would heard the petitions today.

Earlier, the Bombay High Court had granted a transit pre-arrest bail to Zafar, Purohit, Mehra and Solanki against whom a case was registered in Lucknow for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through the web series.

The four have been booked in Lucknow under sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race and so on), 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), 501 (1)(B) (public mischief with intent to cause fear or alarm) of the IPC and under relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.

At least three FIRs have been lodged against the makers and artistes of "Tandav" in Uttar Pradesh - at Lucknow, Greater Noida and Shahjahanpur - for the alleged inappropriate depiction of UP Police personnel, deities, and adverse portrayal of a character playing the role of prime minister in the show.

Similar FIRs have been lodged against people associated with the making and airing of the web series in states like MP, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

The pleas have made various state governments and police officers as parties.

"Tandav", a nine-episode political thriller starring Bollywood A-listers Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, started streaming recently.

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