This article on ‘Case filed against Adipurush for hurting religious sentiments: Facts and Laws‘ was written by Monika Yadav, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
There have been several instances that came up with the issue of hurting religious sentiments and movies are the new targets in such matters. It’s a point of discussion that are religious sentiments this much fragile that they are hurt by mere small incidents. But sometimes, it became a matter of faith when facts were manipulated and not accepted by the religious community. In this article, we were discussing a similar incident in the movie Adipurush as well as the laws related to the same.
An attorney from Lucknow named Pramod Pandey filed a lawsuit against Saif Ali Khan, Prabhas Raghav, Kriti Sanon, producer Om Raut, and Bhushan Kumar with the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM).
According to Section 153 (3) of the Cr.P.C, he has asked that a case be brought against the performers and directors for inaccurately representing Hindu deities, especially Shri Hanuman and Shri Ram.
Saif will portray the villain in Om Raut’s film, Lankesh, who is modeled after Ravana. Prabhas, a popular actor from South India, will play a part that is based on Lord Ram.
According to the appeal, Saif Ali Khan was cited as saying in a contentious interview on December 6 that Ravana had a right to kidnap Sita because Ram’s younger brother Lakshmana injured Surpanakha’s nose.
It’s exciting to play a demon king since there are fewer restrictions in that role, Saif added in the Mumbai Mirror interview. However, we will humanize him, raise the entertainment value, and excuse his kidnapping of Sita and fight with Ram as retaliation for what his sister Surpanakha suffered at the hands of Lakshmana, who amputated her nose. The artist issued an apology and removed his words after receiving internet backlash.
The matter is being heard in the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate’s (ACJM) court and the date of the next hearing is set for December 23.
The Supreme Court restricted the validity of the penal providing to intentional and malicious acts instead of casual findings which were not motivated by malicious intent due to concerns about the abuse of Section 295A of the IPC, which offers up to three years in prison for hurting religious sentiments.
A panel of justices Dipak Mishra, A. M. Khanwilkar, and M. M. Shantanagoudar declared: “Insults to religion offered unintentionally, carelessly, without any purposeful or malicious intention to condemn the religious feelings of such a class need not come inside the section.”
Police have received a complaint about the controversial documentary director Leena Manimekalai’s poster. Manimekalai posted the aforementioned debatable poster on social media on July 2. Goddess Kaali is pictured smoking a cigarette in the poster.
On social media, there has been a huge outrage, with calls to detain the director rising on Twitter. Manimekalai emphasized, stating that the documentary centers on the events that occur one evening when Goddess Kali emerges and strolls around Toronto’s streets. She was charged with “hurting religious emotions through displaying Deity Kali smoking,” though.
Khuda Hafiz 2
Shia community members voiced worry that the song, “Haq Hussain” from the movie would offend their religious sensibilities. Makers expressed regret, adding, “Please rest assured that no member of said Shia community has been misrepresented in the movie, nor does it feature any Shias attacking others. The song was written with the purest of motives to honor Imam Hussain’s greatness, and it was never intended to offend anyone’s religious beliefs. However, we deliberately made the aforementioned alterations while taking into account the beliefs of the Shia sect.”
The most recent and critical incident included “Tandav”, which was made available on Amazon Prime on January 15 of this year. The creators of “Tandav” were charged with disparaging both the Indian Prime Minister and Hindu deities. The problem was also discussed at the ministerial level in addition to being the subject of a police FIR. The I&B ministry requested an explanation from the Amazon team. Apologies were requested and given. The scenes that offended people’s feelings were taken out.
A suitable boy
The creators of the online series “A Suitable Boy” and Netflix have received a legal warning from the All India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB) for wilfully offending Shias’ religious feelings by depicting the desecration of a “tazia” (a copy of Imam Husain’s shrine) in one of the episodes. The online series was produced by BBC Studios and directed by Mira Nair. The Netflix OTT platform offers it. The creators must take the sequence out of the online series and apologize publicly, as the Board has asked through its notice them.
The Akshay Kumar-starring movie Laxmmi Bomb was changed to Laxmmi when it garnered negative press. The producers started receiving a legal letter from the Shri Rajput Karni Sena of Rajasthan, which claimed that the term Laxmmi Bomb was disrespectful to Goddess Laxmi and that it offended sensibilities.
Violence was feared and there was tremendous uproar when the Aamir Khan movie “PK” was released. People believed that the movie mocked the Hindu gods. But the government provided cinemas showing the movie with police protection as a sign of tolerance & freedom of expression in a democratic system.
Social media users criticized a particular sequence from the Brahmastra trailer in which Ranbir Kapoor can be seen ringing a bell while wearing shoes, leading many to believe that the action took place inside a temple. On this, the filmmaker provided clarity. “We had certain folks in our community, unhappy due to one shot in the Trailer – Ranbir’s role wears shoes while he rings a Bell,” Ayan Mukerji wrote.
As the writer of this movie and a fan, I felt compelled to apologize for what transpired. Ranbir is entering a Durga Puja Pandal in our movie, not a temple. A similar Durga Puja celebration has been held by my own family for… 75 years! One, of which I’ve been a part of ever since I was a young child. According to my observations, we only remove our shoes when we are directly in front of the Goddess on the stage.
I feel compelled to apologize to everyone who has been offended by this image because, above everything, Brahmastra is intended to be an appreciation of and celebration of Indian history, culture, and custom. That is the main motivation behind my film, so it is crucial to me that every Indian viewing Brahmastra experiences that same sentiment.
The planned movie “Thank God” starring Ajay Devgn has faced legal issues. In a Jaunpur court, a lawyer by the name of Himanshu Srivastava has filed a complaint against the movie’s director Indra Kumar, alongside actors Ajay Devgn and Siddhartha Malhotra. The petitioner, whose statement would be recorded on November 18, claims that the film’s trailer makes fun of religion and has offended people of faith.
According to Srivastava’s plea, “As the lord of karma, Chitragupta maintains a record of a person’s good and negative activities. Such God representations might lead to unpleasant situations because they offend religious sensibilities.” He further mentioned that Ajay Devgn, who is dressed in a suit, is seen acting the part of Chitragupta, and in one scene, he can be seen making jokes and using foul language.
Laws in hand
Most cases involving religious sentiments are registered under Sections 153A (promote enmity among various groups on basis of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.) and 295-298 (insult religion, disturb a religious assembly, trespass on graves, make statements to hurt religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
When it occurs in a holy place, the prison sentence can be increased to five years from the standard three-year sentence and fines. The maximum sentence for anyone convicted of insulting religion is three years in prison, no bail, and an arrest without a warrant.
The subjective character of accusations is the issue with these laws. It is insufficient to claim that a comment promoted hostility. According to the judiciary, it is necessary to show a connection between whatever had been said and disorderly conduct from the perspective of a reasonable, unbiased observer.
Someone else might not find offensive what you do. Therefore, a comment or action must upset a group of people to consider an insult. The deciding element is conscious intent.
We have discussed so many incidents along with a few remarks made by the judiciary. Laws are in place but still, these laws hold back specific criteria which need to be amended. We should look forward in this matter to what will be held by the court.
- Wounded religious sentiments and the law in India, OUPblog, available at: https://blog.oup.com/2016/09/religious-sentiments-law-india/
- Ishita Mishra, “Delhi court to hear plea against upcoming movie Adipurush as plaintiff claimed its promo hurts sentiments of Hindus”, The Hindu 9 October 2022, available at: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/delhi-court-to-hear-plea-against-upcoming-movie-adipurush-as-plaintiff-claimed-its-promo-hurts-sentiments-of-hindus/article65985566.ece#:~:text=The%20petition%20filed%20by%20a,the%20promo%20of%20the%20movie
- Puja Awasti, “Complaint against ‘Adipurush’ actors, director filed in Lucknow court” The Week, 7 October 2022, available at: https://www.theweek.in/news/entertainment/2022/10/07/complaint-against-adipurush-actors-director-filed-in-lucknow-court.html