Delhi high court dismisses plea to stay release of Bharat: ‘Petition was premature and filed to draw mileage from movie’
The Delhi High Court Monday dismissed a plea that sought a stay on the release of Salman Khan-starrer Bharat, saying the petition was premature and filed to draw mileage from the movie, which is slated to hit the theatres on June 5.
A vacation bench of justices J R Midha and Chander Shekhar was displeased with the petitioner for approaching the court at the last moment and for circulating the petition in the media before it was listed.
At the outset, the bench watched the trailer of the movie on the petitioner’s mobile phone and asked him what was objectionable in it. “There are so many persons named Bharat, so if they are doing anything wrong, should we put all of them behind bars? Should we ban individuals from having the name Bharat?” the bench said.
The petitioner Vikas Tyagi said his objection was that the character Bharat, which was played by Salman Khan, was a womaniser. The court said it was of the view that the petition was filed to draw mileage from it and the plea was premature as the petitioner has not yet seen the movie and the plea was based on a trailer.
The bench, while dismissing the petition, said, “This court does not find merits in the averments of the petitioner. The e-mail sent to media houses showed that intention of the petitioner was to draw mileage from it. This court is of the view that the petition is pre-mature as the petitioner has not yet seen the full movie.”
“In view of the aforesaid, the petition is dismissed,” the bench said, adding that he was lucky that the court was leaving him without cost. The bench further said that the petitioner has not done his research and he wants that court should carry out investigation.
“You come at the last moment and then you want that we should ban the movie just because you feel bad about it,” it said.
The plea had said that the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act prohibited the use of the name ‘Bharat’ for any trade, business, profession, or in a title of any patent and in any trademark.
The petition had said that according to the Constitution, ‘Bharat’ is the official name of the country and it was inappropriate to name a film after it.
“I feel it is not appropriate to name such film or any character associated with this film after our great nation. It is distorting the cultural and political image of our great country ‘Bharat’...,” it had alleged.
It had also sought directions to director Ali Abbas Zafar, production houses Real Life Production Pvt Ltd and Salman Khan Films, actor Salman Khan, Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and the Centre to change any dialogue that was related to ‘Bharat’ and where the character has been compared with the country.
The counsel for the movie’s producer and director told the court that one of the trailers was available online since August last year but the petitioner is coming to court now when the money has been paid and film has been distributed.
He said the makers of the film have all the three kinds of permissions required under the law. He added that the petitioner wanted to gain mileage out of it and he had given the petition to the media even before the plea was listed.
To this, the bench asked the petitioner why he advertised his plea in the media, and remarked that instead of a public interest litigation (PIL), it was an individual’s litigation and warned him of dismissing it with heavy cost.
“Why did you call media? You want to give them interview, you want to be famous,” the bench said.
The petitioner claimed that he was not a man of means and he had no other option but to contact the media.
The plea had further sought an interim stay on the release of the film. It claimed that the movie was “merely a shameless, cunning stratagem to encash the deep-rooted feeling for our country”.
“The court will have to put an end to such tricks to encash the people’s patriotic sentiments,” the plea had said.
It had added that though there was nothing objectionable in the movie, when it was linked with our nation, it is inappropriate to correlate the content of the movie with its title.
“A ‘country’ whose tradition and culture have been running for thousands of years cannot be exhibited by any single character or contained in any character,” the plea had said.
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