On Friday( 29/01.2021), Allahabad High Court stayed the arrest of Mirzapur web series producers Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar. While staying the arrest, the Bench issued notices to the complainant and state government seeking their reply.
An FIR was lodged against the petitioners (Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar) and others on 117.01.2021 at Kotwali Dehat Police, Mirzapur by journalist Arvind Chaturvedi and the accused were booked u/s 295-A, 505,504,34 of IPC and also u/s 67A IT Act.
The complainant has alleged that certain parts of the web series Mirzapur depict his hometown (Mirzapur) as a city infested with anti-social elements. The show promotes casteism, illicit relationships, and maligns the judicial system. He further alleged that the makers have not portrayed real Mirzapur and have hurt his feelings.
Contentions raised by the petitioners:-
- Counsel for the petitioners argued that the web series was a work of fiction and disclaimer at the beginning of each episode. The series and its makers respect all faiths and religion and that the series was entirely fictional.
- It was further argued that the petitioners or professionals who worked on the series had no intention to hurt religious feelings or to break the public peace or to incite any class or community of persons to commit an offence against any other people.
- The petitioners also stated that even though the second season of the show was launched on 23.10.2020, the FIR was lodged after three months from the date of release.
- Lastly, the petitioners argued that the series was a work of fiction, and should be appreciated in light of the maker’s right to artistic freedom provided under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 19(1)(g).
Order of the Court
The Hon’ble Court considered the arguments and stayed the arrest of the petitioners.