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HC quashes FIR against ‘Mirzapur’ web series producers

🔴 The complainant had submitted that the dialogues and story of the web series 'Mirzapur' hurt his religious, social and regional sentiments.

By: Express News Service | Lucknow |
December 11, 2021 9:11:03 am
mirzapur controversy SC pleaWeb series Mirzapur has been accused of showing the district of Mirzapur in bad light. (Photo: Prime Video)

The Allahabad High Court on Friday quashed an FIR registered against the makers of web series Mirzapur for allegedly hurting religious feelings by misrepresenting the district as “an anti-social and criminal place”. On January 29, the court had stayed any coercive action against the show’s producers.

A Bench of Justices Mahesh Chandra Tripathi and Subhash Vidyarthi on Friday passed a judgement saying no offence under IPC sections invoked against the producers was made out.

“…this Court is satisfied that there is no allegation to make out a case that the petitioners have, with a deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizens of India, insulted or attempted to insult the regional or the religious beliefs of that class through the web series Mirzapur…” read the order.

Based on a complaint from Mirzapur resident Arvind Chaturvedi, the FIR was filed on January 17 at the Kotwali Dehat station under IPC sections 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), and Section 67-A of the Information Technology Act.

In the complaint, Chaturvedi alleged that Mirzapur’s producers Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar and Bhaumik Gondaliya, and over-the-top (OTT) media service platform Amazon Prime portrayed the place “as an anti-social and criminal place depicting illicit relations in the family, abusive language and caste-based animosity”.

The complainant said that while Mirzapur was the place of Hindu goddess Vindhyavasini that is an inspiration for the entire world, the show “hurts the religious, social and regional feelings of the informant and it spreads hatred and corrupt mindset in the society” and was far away from reality.

When the court was hearing the matter, Chaturvedi submitted that the dialogues and story of the web series hurt his religious, social and regional sentiments, and said some of his friends had started calling him “Kaleen bhaiya”, a character who is a mafia don involved in the trade of countrymade pistols.

The complainant said while two seasons of the show had been aired, a third season had been announced, and added that he “believes that in continuation of the earlier two seasons it will also depict a story, which would hurt the informant’s sentiments”.

In his affidavit, Chaturvedi said, “Things would have been fine if the petitioners would have chosen a fictional name of the town and the title of their web series.”

In response, the show’s producers filed petitions saying that “the contents of the FIR are more of a general opinion of the informant and a bare reading, thereof, does not make out any offence”.

Stating that the show is a work of fiction and a disclaimer pointing this out is shown before each episode, the show’s makers said they had the fundamental right of freedom of speech.

As per the court order, the state government said in an affidavit, “Mirzapur district is an old famous city of Mata Vindhvasini Dhaam and in the web series namely Mirzapur at different places name of District Mirzapur has been used and in the aforesaid web series family illicit relationship has been shown and it has also featured false information regarding advocates as well as judicial system, which clearly insulted the feelings of a class of citizens”.

It added, “The web series has insulted the regional and religious sentiments of the people of Mirzapur in general and Tripathi family in particular.” The affidavit also said that “a Brahmin family has been targeted just to defame the Brahmin Samaj”.

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