On Thursday, the single-judge bench of Allahabad High Court refused anticipatory bail to Aparna Purohit, the head of India Originals at Amazon Sellers Service Pvt Ltd, which is screening Tandav web series on Amazon Prime. Justice Siddharth passed this order while hearing the anticipatory bail application on February 25.
The application had been filed by Aparna 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.
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The allegation in the FIR lodged against the applicant and six other co-accused persons in the web series is accused of having objectionable content. The series, which is streaming on Amazon Prime Video – an OTT platform - has been directed by co-accused Ali Abbas Zafar.
According to reports, the court order stated, “The irresponsible conduct against the inherent mandate of the Constitution of India by anyone affecting the fundamental rights of the large number of citizens cannot be acquiesced to only because of the tendering of unconditional apology after committing the alleged act of crime and indiscretion.”
Aparna Purohit's counsel submitted that the web series in dispute is a work of fiction and all the places, events, characters and incidents are the imagination of the author. A disclaimer is included in the series in this regard. The cast and crew of Tandav have issued an unconditional apology and the offensive scenes have been removed from the same.
Some reports suggest that the court, however, observed that this step “would not absolve the accused persons of the offence committed by them.”
The applicant 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 a 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 Allahabad high court. The Uttar Pradesh government, meanwhile, vehemently opposed the application.
(With Inputs from IANS)