The Supreme Court declined to give an early hearing to a petition by noted Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar seeking quashing of a criminal case against him for allegedly insulting the national anthem.
A bench of Justices B N Agrawal and G S Singhvi,while turning down Johar’s plea,told the director that he ought to have appeared before the trial court judge in Lucknow who had issued summons to him in the case which related to his film ‘Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham.’
The apex court while declining an early hearing said the matter would come up for hearing “on the date notified.”
The Allahabad High Court had earlier dismissed Johar’s plea for quashing of the case,after which he has approached the apex court seeking an early hearing of the matter.
“You have not been appearing before the trial court. This case relates to 2002. In criminal cases,if summons are issued,you have to appear. It is for the magistrate to dispense with personal appearance,” the bench observed.
The bench made the remarks after a senior counsel pleaded that the producer-director may at least be exempted from personal appearance.
The complaint was filed under the Prevention of Insult to the National Honour Act,1971.
Johar,despite being served summons,had not appeared before the court citing ill health and security threat contending he was a celebrity.
In 2002,the complainants had said the national anthem was not sung in the desired manner in the movie. Moreover,it was alleged that nobody stood up in reverence in the theatres while the national anthem was being played in the cinema hall,which,the complainants said was an insult.