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The Accidental Prime Minister Case: SC refuses to grant an urgent hearing

The Supreme Court has refused to grant an urgent hearing to the plea seeking a ban on the trailer of and the film The Accidental Prime Minister. This means that the trailer will remain as is on YouTube and the movie will be released on its scheduled release date of January 11, 2019. The Supreme Court did not provide a specific time, but the matter will be heard in the coming weeks.

The petitioner’s advocate Arun Maitri told MediaNama, “Even (if) the film is released tomorrow, the problem does not stand solved as YouTube is a party and video of film and trailer remain on YouTube for a long time so we will go for logical end for our SLP (Special Leave Petition) and points raised by us.” He added that they will not be remedy-less even if the matter is heard a week after the film’s release. He said, “we have to tell them that they committed a wrong and in the future such wrongs should not be repeated. And moreover, such legal issues require adjudication.”

Timeline of the case

  • On January 9, petitioner Pooja Mahajan had filed a Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court seeking a suspension on the release of The Accidental Prime Minister and a ban on the trailer from YouTube and Google.
  • On January 9, the two judge bench of the Delhi High Court, headed by Chief Justice Rajendra Menon dismissed the plea.
  • January 8, Pooja Mahajan filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court seeking a ban on the release of the trailer and the film.
  • January 8, the writ petition seeking a ban on the trailer dismissed by the single judge bench of Delhi High Court. The Court directed the petitioners to file a PIL instead.

The Contention in the petition

The petitioners filed that trailer is “affecting, harming the image of the Constitutional post of Hon’ble  Prime Minister of India and giving a bad name at the national as well as at the international level.” With the release of the film, the makers and producers will succeed in spreading hatred in the masses, they added.

The petitioners contested that the filmmakers did not take consent or permission from Dr Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi before performing their characters. In the plea, they say that the trailer gives an impression that the Office of Manmohan Singh, during his tenure as PM, was controlled by Sonia Gandhi, while Sanjaya Baru’s book never said so. They argued that rules were flouted on account of hidden agenda of political parties and that trailer released on YouTube is in violation of Section 5B of the Cinematography Act and rule 38 of Cinematograph (Certification) Rules 1983.

Also read: Updated: Case dismissed- Fresh PIL seeks a ban on ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ movie

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