Supreme Court Refuses “Tandav” Team Protection From Arrest

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The makers and an actor of Amazon Prime web series “Tandav”, who appealed for protection against arrest, failed to get any relief from the Supreme Court today. At least three cases have been lodged in Uttar Pradesh against the makers of the series, alleging inappropriate depiction of UP Police personnel and deities, and adverse portrayal of a character playing the role of prime minister. Similar cases have been lodged in other states including Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar, Delhi and Chandigarh.

The makers have been accused of “hurting religious sentiments”, “promoting religious enmity” and “defiling a place of worship”.

“The producer, director, and artistes of web series Tandav have committed the crime of spoiling social harmony and unity and hurting Hindu religious sentiments. Tough legal action will be taken,” Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya had tweeted.

The spate of cases, which started after criticism on social media, continued even after the makers issued an apology and followed it up with changes in two scenes “to address concerns”.

Subsequently, actor Zeeshan Ayyub, Amazon Creative Head Aparna Purohit and the maker of the series Himanshu Kishan Mehra had moved the top court asking for a freeze on possible arrest.  

In their petition, they also said facing prosecution in various states involved harassment and wanted the intervention of the top court to transfer the First Information Reports to Mumbai. The court has agreed to consider the second request of the petitioners, who were  being represented by senior Lawyers Fali Nariman, Mukul Rohatgi and Sidharth Luthra.

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Fali Nariman pointed out that the makers of the series have already apologised, and the contents had been removed.  Mukul Rohatgi argued his clients did nothing wrong and the serial is only a “political satire”. In this context, he also quoted the case involving the Republic editor Arnab Goswami, where the court granted him protection from arrest, upholding “personal liberty” of citizens.