DNA Special: Deities have been insulted in name of freedom of expression, says Allahabad HC on ‘Tandav’ row
Home Latest News DNA Special: Deities have been insulted in name of freedom of expression, says Allahabad HC on ‘Tandav’ row
Latest News - February 27, 2021

DNA Special: Deities have been insulted in name of freedom of expression, says Allahabad HC on ‘Tandav’ row


The Allahabad High Court on Thursday (February 25) refused to grant anticipatory bail to Aparna Purohit, the head of India Originals, Amazon Prime Video, in a case filed in Noida against makers of the web series ‘Tandav’ over the depiction of police, the Prime Minister and Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
A single-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court said that “disrespecting Hindu Gods and Goddesses is not freedom of speech.”  In the name of creative freedom, Hindu gods and goddesses have been depicted in a bad light with the intention of inciting communal sentiments in the show.
The allegation in the FIR lodged against the applicant and six other co-accused persons are that a web series is being shown on Amazon Prime Video, which is an online movie OTT platform, has objectionable content.
The web series is being shown through Amazon Prime Video through Head of India Originals, as paid movie. ‘Tandav’ has been directed by co-accused, Ali Abbas Zafar.
Aparna Purohit`s counsel submitted that the web series in dispute is a work of fiction and all the places, events, characters and incidents are imagination of the author.
A disclaimer is included in the movie in this regard. The cast and crew of the web series Tandav have already issued an unconditional apology and have removed the offensive scenes.
What the court observed:
1. Deities are being insulted in the name of freedom of expression.
2. An attempt was made to incite ethnic and religious sentiments and it seems that a definite plan is working behind the humiliation of the gods and goddesses.
3. The humiliation of another religion has become a source of income.
4. The film seeks to spoil the image of the country and the state and misrepresent the police, administration and constitutional posts.
5. The right to religious freedom cannot be violated in the name of freedom of expression.
6. Strictness against those who disrupt social harmony is essential.
7. Giving a disclaimer at the beginning of the film does not end accountability.
8. The court said that if this trend is not curbed, whatever is being shown in the film and web series will be accepted as true by the younger generation of the country.
The court observed, “Western filmmakers have refrained from ridiculing Lord Jesus or the Prophet but Hindi filmmakers have done this repeatedly and are still doing this most unabashedly with Hindu gods and goddesses.” Even films made in South India take care of religious sentiments. 
(With agency inputs)

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