The Supreme Court has rejected the petitions filed by makers and actors of Amazon Prime Video web series 'Tandav' seeking protection against arrest in the multiple cases that have been filed against them. The case was heard by an SC bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, RS Reddy and MR Shah.
"Your right to freedom of speech is not absolute. You cannot play the role of character that hurts the sentiments of a community," the bench said. The apex court bench was hearing a bunch of petitions which sought the quashing of multiple criminal cases that have been filed against series director and writer Ali Abbas Zaffar in several states for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
Aside from Amazon Prime India Head Aparna Purohit and Zaffar, the web series's producer Himanshu Mehra, writer Gaurav Solanki and actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub had also filed three separate petitions in the SC against the registration of FIRs in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
The web series has been under fire for and is facing multiple criminal cases for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and for insulting religion. These acts are punishable offences under Sections 153A and 295 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Hence, there is a possibility of the makers of 'Tandav' getting arrested for these alleged offences.
Over the last few weeks, three FIRs have been filed against the makers and actors of 'Tandav' in Uttar Pradesh alone. These were in - Lucknow, Greater Nodia and Shahjahanpur. The web series has been accused of portraying UP police personnel in a bad light. Insulting deities and for the negative depiction of a character in the show who is the Prime Minister of India.
FIRs similar to these have been lodged against the makers and actors in states like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka. The state governments and police officers have been made parties to the pleas. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court decided to club together the multiple FIRs filed against makers of 'Tandav' in different states.