HC refuses to entertain plea seeking ban on 'The Accidental Prime Minister' trailer

PTI
Monday, 7 January 2019

"By performing the character of Manmohan Singh, (ex-PM), Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, the performing actors/ artists have committed offences punishable under sections 416 (cheating by impersonation) of the IPC and therefore, the CBFC could not have given the certificate for screening/ exhibition of the film," it claimed.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea seeking to suspend the trailer of the upcoming movie "The Accidental Prime Minister" and asked the petitioner to file it as a public interest litigation. 

Justice Vibhu Bakhru disposed of the plea which was filed by the petitioner in her personal capacity. 

The judge made it clear that she has not examined the controversy raised in the plea.
  
The plea alleged that provisions of the Cinematograph Act are being misused and the film producer has released the trailer affecting, harming the image of the office of the prime minister and giving a bad name at the national and international level.
  
The film, which stars Anupam Kher as Manmohan Singh, is based on a book of the same name by the former prime minister's media advisor Sanjaya Baru. 
 
The court noted the submission of the counsel for the Centre and the Censor Board that petitioner Pooja Mahajan stated in the first paragraph of her petition that she has no personal interest in the issue. 

"The counsel for respondents state that the petition is in the nature of public interest and it be filed as a PIL," the court said. 

It said it would be open for the petitioner to file a PIL. 

The court also said a PIL is heard by a division bench and not by a single judge. 

The plea, filed through advocate A Maitri, alleges that the released trailer of the film, which is scheduled for release on January 11, defames the Constitutional post of the prime minister. 

It has arrayed the Centre, through the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Google (India) and YouTube as parties. 

According to the petition, due to the release of the trailer, the "post of prime minister is getting defamed on day to day basis in public domain before the public at large". 

It added that the disclaimer in the movie's trailer says it is based on a book written by Sanjaya Baru but the "real facts are totally different. In fact, the disclaimer given in the trailer is untrue, false and fake".
 
"By performing the character of Manmohan Singh, (ex-PM), Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, the performing actors/ artists have committed offences punishable under sections 416 (cheating by impersonation) of the IPC and therefore, the CBFC could not have given the certificate for screening/ exhibition of the film," it claimed.

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