'Just an employee of Amazon': What Aparna Purohit said in Supreme Court challenging HC order in 'Tandav' row
Aparna Purohit, the creative head of Amazon Prime Video in India, has approached the Supreme Court challenging an order of the Allahabad high court, which denied her anticipatory bail in a case linked to web series 'Tandav'. The series premiered on Amazon Prime on January 15 and Purohit has been named in multiple FIRs over controversies around it.
Appearing for Purohit, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said that the cases against her are "shocking". He further said that Purohit is just an employee of Amazon; she is neither a producer nor an actor. Rohatgi said that Purohit has been made accused in around 10 cases related to 'Tandav'.
The lawyer contended that OTT regulations have come and the Allahabad high court order was not based on these regulations. "It's about freedom of speech and expression," he added. Rohatgi also said that 'Tandav' is not available for free, it can be only watched by payment. He called those who has filed the FIRs as "publicity seekers".
The Supreme Court bench of justices Ashok Bhushan and RS Reddy then asked the Centre to present before it the regulations put in place by the government on Over The Top (OTT) platforms and adjourned the hearing till Friday.
Purohit was denied pre-arrest bail by the high court on February 25 in the ongoing investigation against 'Tandav' in connection with hurting religious sentiments and objectionable content. Dismissing her petition, the high court highlighted the offensive language used in the web series and said Purohit has scant respect for law and order.
The Uttar Pradesh Police filed an FIR against the top Amazon Prime Video executive, and the actors and makers of the web series for the derogatory depiction of Hindu deities and promoting religious enmity.
"Such people make the revered figures of the religion of majority community the source of earning money in a most brazen manner taking benefit of the liberal and tolerant tradition of the country," the high court said.
On January 27, the Supreme Court refused to grant interim protection from arrest to actors and makers of 'Tandav' and asked them to approach high courts for relief from arrest or quashing of FIRs.
'Tandav', a nine-episode web series, premiered on Amazo Prime Video on January 15. It stars Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub and others.