The Last Word on Aiyaary

Last year, it was claimed before the Bombay High Court that the trailers of The State v. Jolly LL.B 2 projected the Indian Judiciary and the Indian Legal System in a derogatory manner. The Court found there was a prima facie case of contempt. It constituted a Three-Member Committee, out of which Two Members were Lawyers, to watch the film and submit their report.

The Bom HC’s ‘Legitimization of Special Committees to Review Movies’ gave a fillip to CBFC to invite Royals and Historians to review Padmavaat. Even more recently, the Board took suggestions from Competent Authorities of the Army, as a ‘measure of caution’ before the release of Aiyaary.

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If the CBFC can solicit such suggestions, the Court of Future can be expected to set up further Special Committees as and when the Board fails to act. The observation in Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society Ltd. v. Union of India, [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 129 of 2018], is telling:

“There can be no shadow of doubt that the Censor Board can grant a certificate and in the said decision making process, it can also consult the persons who can assist it to arrive at the condign conclusion… The grant of certificate by the CBFC, after consulting with the Authorities of the Army, should dispel any apprehension…”

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Real v. Reel

It is of curiosity, Senior Advocate, Mr. Sanjay R. Hegde argued that Aiyaary has projected the Petitioner Society in an unacceptable manner, that is likely to have some impact on the litigations which are pending apart from affecting the reputation of the Members of the Society. Supreme Court, on certain occasions, has protected the image and reputation of the individuals, like in Devidas Ramachandra Tujlapurkar.

The Chief Justice explained of Devidas: 

“It is necessary to clarify here that in the said case, the question was with regard to “poetic license”The reliance placed by Mr. Hegde, Learned Senior Counsel, does not render any assistance. The law laid down in the said case rests on the facts depicted therein.”

It has been said of Devidas before: “The vagueness and conceptual slippages rife throughout this Judgement leave it unclear how much of an impact it will have doctrinally… the Judgement is incorrect, productive of great public mischief, and ought to be overruled the first chance the Supreme Court gets.”