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Supreme Court rejects Tandav makers' plea for interim protection

The makers had approached the apex court to quash the multiple FIRs filed against them by the Uttar Pradesh police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.

Our Correspondent

The Supreme Court has rejected a petition from the makers of the Amazon Prime Video web-series Tandav (2021) seeking interim protection from arrest and directed them to approach the high court concerned.

The petition was filed by director Ali Abbas Zafar, producer Himanshu Mehra, writer Gaurav Solanki, actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and Amazon content head Aparna Purohit.

Appearing on behalf of Purohit, senior advocate Fali Nariman stated that though the objectionable parts had already been removed from the web-series, seven more first information reports (FIRs) had been filed against his client. The counsel also pleaded that since the FIRs had been filed across six states, it was difficult for the petitioners to approach the high court of each state.

The petitioners' lawyers cited the precedents set in the cases of journalists Arnab Goswami and Amish Devgan and stated that the refusal of interim protection would ''create havoc'' since the petitioners would have to file bail petitions in six different states.

The bench headed by justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising justice R Subhash Reddy and justice MR Shah, however, rejected the plea and remarked that "religious sentiments cannot be hurt".

However, the court also issued a notice to club and transfer all the FIRs and granted the petitioners liberty to approach the relevant high courts for anticipatory bail.

Last week, the Bombay high court had granted three-week transit anticipatory bail for the makers to seek pre-arrest bail from Uttar Pradesh. The bail was granted after the Hazratganj police station in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, booked the makers under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act.

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