Bombay high court on Wednesday granted transit relief to four persons including the writer, director, producer of Tandav in a criminal case registered in UP against them.
Justice P D Naik granted three weeks’ transit anticipatory bail to director Ali Abbas Zafar and web series writer Gaurav Solanki, producer Himanshu Mehra and the content head for Amazon Aparna Purohit. The order enables them to apply for regular pre arrest bail before the appropriate court.
The UP police came to Mumbai after a FIR was registered alleging that the series airing now on Amazon has hurt religious sentiments and was portraying police from the state in poor light.
Senior counsel Aabad Ponda and advocate Aniket Nikam appearing for both Zafar and Purohit argued that the duo feared their arrest pursuant to the FIR. They sought time to be able to seek proper relief. Their application stated, “they are innocent and have been wrongly implicated in the offences mentioned in the FIR.”
The petition by Zafar, Mehra and Solanki said , “the web-series is work of fiction and is a Indian Hindi language political drama showcasing coming together of different worlds under the gamut of politics.”
In the petition, it is further said the web-series and the characters thereof “in no manner depict/portray/represent any gods and/or goddesses of any religion whatsoever.”
It added, “ allegation by the Complainant as stated therein is that the content of the web-series has depicted Hindu deities in an indecent manner which is hurtful to religious sentiments and has depicted caste inequality which is hurtful to caste sentiments.
The petition said the FIR however “does not specify/ identify/ describe /elaborate any specific instance in the web-series which may be deemed as indecent depiction of any gods and goddesses for being hurtful to religious sentiments or amount to any offences as alleged.”
“FIR is vague and without complete understanding of the context or background of the web-series and has been maliciously filed,” the petition said.
They submitted that the “allegations in the FIR do not make out any offence whatsoever as stated.” They also submitted that “no allegation whatsoever has been made against the Applicants in their personal capacity in the FIR.”
The counsel argued that the FIR did not ascribe any role but the FIR was “based on surmises and conjectures.” The police in UP had on 17/01/2021 registered the First Information Report (FIR) for alleged offences under Sections 153-A, 295, 505(1)(b), 505(2) and 469 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 and under Sections 66, 66F and 67 of Information Technology Act, 2000 [as amended by Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008] filed at Hazratganj Police Station, Lucknow.
The said FIR has been registered in relation to the content of the Web-Series ‘Taandav’ released on the video on demand platform Amazon Prime on 15/01/2021. The duo said they learnt that the FIR was registered on January 17, 2021 at 11:46 p.m. ‘Tandav’ is actor Saif Ali Khan’s political drama which also stars Dimple Kapadia.