Hearing on Wednesday a petition to ban the FIR against the actors and producers of the web series dance of fury, The Supreme Court held that freedom of speech is not absolute. A bench headed by Ashok Bhushan said that the petitioners should go to the High Courts to settle these cases. The court also refused to give protection to the manufacturers from arrest. dance of fury Against whom the F.I.R.
The case was heard by a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, RS Reddy and MR Shah. Senior advocates Fali S. Nariman, Mukul Rohatgi and Siddharth Luthra cited the recent verdict of the top court in Arnab Goswami’s case during the hearing. “Should freedom be protected in this way and FIRs are being filed across the country in this way,” Luthra said, adding that the web series director Ali Abbas Zafar is being harassed.
“Your right to freedom of expression is not absolute. You cannot play the role of a character hurting the sentiments of a community,” the bench said.
Nariman said that an apology has been taken and still many FIRs have been lodged in six states. He also said that the objectionable material has also been removed from the series. Reacting to this, Justice Bhushan said, “You want the FIR to be abolished, then why can’t you approach the High Courts?” The bench said that the police can also file a closure report if an apology is sought.
Rohatgi cited the Arnab Goswami case for transferring the apex court after violation of Article 19 (1) (a). He said that people these days get angry with anything and everything. Rohatgi argued, “Please protect us without any drastic steps. We removed the content without any protest. The scenes were removed. This is a political satire.” Passing the verdict, the bench refused to name those who were protected from arrest in the FIR.
The web series is facing criminal cases under Section 153A and 295 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for hurting religious sentiments and insulting religion.
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