The Delhi High Court on Monday said actors cannot be held liable for dialogues that allegedly insulted former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the “Sacred Games” web series.
A bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Chander Shekhar wanted to know as to why the actors were made a party to the case. The bench also questioned the maintainability of the plea since all the episodes are on air.
The bench observed that everyone has freedom to express his views, which may be right or wrong.
The court has sought to know whether the plea could be entertained as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and asked the petitioner to satisfy how the court could intervene in the matter.
The PIL — filed by lawyer Nikhil Bhalla through advocate Shashank Garg — sought the removal of two contents that according to him “tarnished” the image of late Prime Minister.
The lawyer claimed that the series incorrectly depicted historical events such as Bofors scandal, Shah Bano case, Babri Masjid demolition and communal riots.
The bench said that there was nothing urgent in it as all the episodes had already been aired. The bench has watched the CD of the series placed on record.
According to the petitioner’s lawyer, there are two scenes where derogatory words have been used which need to be removed, as the actor is seen abusing our former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
The court also asked whether a certificate by the Central Board of Film Certification was required for airing such web series.
The court has listed the matter for July 19 for a detailed hearing.
Last week, a Congress activist in West Bengal filed a police complaint against actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, over-the-top media services provider Netflix and the makers of “Sacred Games” for “insulting and abusing” Rajiv Gandhi.
The series is based on author Vikram Chandra’s similarly titled novel. It has been directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane.
The web series has episodes on the Emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi government, Bofors scandal and the Shah Bano case that created a storm during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure as Prime Minister.
Breaking his silence over the web series, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said the “Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh believe the freedom of expression must be policed and controlled but I feel it is a fundamental democratic right”.