Delhi HC disposes of petition challenging trailer of The Accidental Prime Minister

Aditi Singh January 7 2019

The Delhi High Court today disposed of a petition assailing the trailer of the film The Accidental Prime Minister as harming the image of the post of Prime Minister of India.

A Bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru disposed of the petition without going into the merits of the matter.

The judge asked the petitioner to file a Public Interest Litigation on the issue, which would be listed before a Division Bench of the High Court.

The Court's observation came after it was noticed that the petitioner had claimed that she had "no personal interest" in the matter and that it was in public interest.

The petition sought directions to the Centre and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to stop the exhibition and display of the trailer of Anupam Kher-starrer  The Accidental Prime Minister on YouTube and other web forums.

A political drama, The Accidental Prime Minister is based on the memoirs of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Media Advisor, Sanjay Baru.

The petition preferred by Delhi-based fashion designer Pooja Mahajan states that after watching the trailer, she was perturbed as a wrong image of the country’s high office was being projected through it.

That out of anxiety and for verifying the truth, petitioner read the book written by Sanjaya Baru. That by reading the book, Petitioner realised that makers of Trailer have added various inputs without the consent of the author Sanjaya Baru.”, the Petition reads.

It is stated in the petition that the trailer is not based on the book authored by Sanjaya Baru, as claimed, and that the book, as well as the trailer, is based on presumptions. It also brings on record that the No Objection Certificate (NOC) was never obtained for the trailer by the producers of the film, as required by the CBFC guidelines on films based on real-life characters.

Filed through advocates Arun Maitri, Radhika Chandrashekhar. and Annanya Roy, the petition argues that the trailer of the film is manipulated, twisted and misleading.

Calling it "a political stunt at the behest of some political party", the petition affirms that the trailer "clearly shows that it’s Political Propaganda with some other motives". It thus has “the propensity of inculcating hatred amongst the person who believe in democratic set up, who believe in Constitution of India”, the petition states.

"The Prime Minister of India is a constitutional post and is protected under the Constitution of India and under no set of circumstances any company, individual, film producer can enjoy any such liberty to defame the said post/August Office", the petitioner asserts.

It thus argues that the trailer is in violation of Section 5-B of the Cinematograph Act read with Rule 38 of Cinematograph (Certification) Rules 1983. It also claims that the trailer violates Section 416 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 which makes impersonation of living persons impermissible in law.

Read the Petition:

 

Pooja Mahajan vs UOI-watermark

Image taken from here.

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