SC to hear plea by ‘Tandav’ actor, makers against FIRs today
The Supreme Court will today hear petitions filed by actor Zeeshan Ayyub, Amazon Prime (India) creative head and the makers of the web series ‘Tandav’, seeking protection from arrest in the seven FIRs registered against them over allegations of hurting religious sentiments and telecasting objectionable content.
A bench, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, will take up three petitions, filed separately by Ayyub, Amazon Prime creative head Aparna Purohit and another one moved jointly by the producer and director of the Over The Top (OTT) series. Other judges on the bench include justices R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah.
The petitions are likely to be argued by a team of senior advocates led by veteran lawyer Fali S Nariman.
The petitions have requested the top court to club all the seven FIRs and transfer them to a court in Mumbai. Out of seven FIRs, three FIRs are pending 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.
Two FIRs have been registered in Madhya Pradesh while one FIR each was lodged in Karnataka and Bihar. Apart from the FIRs, at least three other criminal complaints are pending in Maharashtra, Delhi and Chandigarh respectively.
The petitions coming up for hearing today have maintained that it would cause severe harassment to those associated with ‘Tandav’ to face prosecution in various states and that it would be just and fair to club all the cases at one place, preferably in Mumbai which is the ordinary place of residence for the petitioners.
Seeking protection from arrest till all the FIRs are clubbed and sent to one court, the petitions have added that the apex court should stay all the coercive action against them for the time being.
Earlier, the Bombay high court had granted a transit pre-arrest bail to series director Ali Abbas Zafar, producer Himanshu Mehra,writer Gaurav Solanki, and Purohit against whom a case was registered in Lucknow for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through the web series.
‘Tandav’, a nine-episode political thriller starring Bollywood actors Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Ayyub, started streaming recently.