SC to Hear Plea Seeking Ban on Trailer and Stay on Release of Controversial Film “The Accidental Prime Minister”



SC to Hear Plea Seeking Ban on Trailer and Stay on Release of Controversial Film “The Accidental Prime Minister”

New Delhi: On Wednesday, January 9, with another apprehension attached to the controversial movie, “The Accidental Prime Minister”, a plea has been filed before the Supreme Court challenging the order of the Delhi High Court which disposed of a petition seeking a ban on the trailer of the upcoming movie. It is pertinent to note that although the Delhi HC disposed of the writ petition, the petitioner was at the liberty of filing a PIL in the matter.

The filing was made within hours, pursuant to the order of dismissal by the High Court. The petition instituted against both the release of the trailer and the film itself, alleges that the contents therein are portraying the post of the Prime Minister in a negative and defamatory manner.

The film stars, Anupam Kher as the former PM Manmohan Singh and is based on the book under the same name authored by Sanjaya Baru, who has been a media advisor to the former PM.

The petition was instituted in the top Court by Pooja Mahajan, who contested the trailer release of the film on YouTube and further urged the Court to grant a stay on the release of the controversial film as it is alleged to affect and hamper the goodwill of the office of the Prime minister and to other eminent public figures.

Appearing for the petitioner, Advocate A Maitri submitted that in case the release of the film under question is permitted,  It will cause unaccountable damage to the authoritative post on which the film is based. Moreover, through the plea, the righteousness of the Central Board of Film Certification was also put in question. Advocate Maitri submitted that characters in the film stand in contravention of the law as, under Section 416 of the IPC, cheating by personification is an offence.

Furthermore, it has been contested that the producers have failed to seek prior consent/ permission from the political leaders like the former PM, Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and others, to showcase their life, appearance and political lives in the feature film. The petitioner has alleged the film to be a villainous attempt by the film makers and producers to derive commercial gains by deliberately defaming the former PM in order to create hype around the controversy. The film is likely to hamper foreign relations between India and the USA.

While dismissing the plea, the division bench of the High Court observed that the petitioner had no locus standi and that the plea initiated under private interest.

Through the petition, the makers and producers have also been accused of misappropriating provisions of the Cinematograph Act and released the trailer with the malicious intent to defame the office of the Prime Minister at both national and international levels.

Contesting the grounds of the petitioner before the High Court, Advocate Sangram Patnaik appearing for the producers Sunil Bohra and Dhaval Gada submitted that the plea was not maintainable as it denoted more of personal interest rather than factual basis and further raised objection as to how the production house was not made party to the plea before the High Court.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Akshay Khanna
Anupam Kher
Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)
Cinematograph Act
Dr Manmohan Singh
The Accidental Prime Minister

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