‘Tandav’ row: Allahabad HC denies anticipatory bail to Amazon Prime India head

Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) : The Allahabad High Court on Thursday 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 Justice Siddharth passed this order yesterday while hearing an anticipatory bail application.
According to the order, the anticipatory bail application had been filed by Purohit in the case under Sections- 153 (A) (1) (b), 295-A, 505 (1) (b),505 (2) IPC, Section 66 and 67 of the Information Technology Act and Section 3 (1) (r) of SC/ST Act.

It said that the allegation in the FIR lodged against the applicant and six other co-accused persons is that a web series is being shown on Amazon Prime Video, which is an online movie OTT (over-the-top) platform, has objectionable content.

The web series is being shown through Amazon Prime Video through Head of India Originals, as a paid movie.

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The order further said that the movie has been directed by co-accused, Ali Abbas Zafar. The content of this movie is affecting the image of the Uttar Pradesh police adversely. In a Dial 100 police vehicle, two actors are shown travelling with open doors in a police uniform, consuming liquor and hurling abuses, it added.

It is also seen that Hindu gods and goddesses have been depicted in a bad light with the intention of inciting communal sentiments.

The post of Prime Minister has been depicted in a manner that will adversely affect the democratic system of the country. Caste and community-related utterances have been made deliberately so that they may affect public peace, the judgment noted.

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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.

Purohit, along with other co-accused persons, filed a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India before the apex court praying for quashing of the number of FIRs and complaint cases lodged against the applicant and other co-accused persons on January 27, 2021.

Notices have been issued to the opposite parties, leaving it open for the accused persons to approach the High Court of the state for grant of bail/anticipatory bail. Hence, the applicant sought bail from the Allahabad High Court.

The state government, meanwhile, had vehemently opposed the application by Purohit. Additional Government Advocate (AGA) has submitted that total of ten FIRs and four criminal complaints have been filed relating to the disputed web series in the country.

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The Allahabad HC said there have been attempts in movies to subvert the image of historical and mythological personalities and mentions “Padmavati”.

The court further noted that there appeared to be a design behind such acts.

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