The Rajasthan High Court on Monday ordered police not to take any coercive action against Bollywood director Prakash Jha over an FIR filed against him allegedly for hurting the feelings of Dalits by reprehensibly portraying the community in his Ashram web series. Jha was relieved until the next hearing of his plea to quash the FIR against him at Luni Police Station in Jodhpur.
The Jodhpur High Court bench hearing the plea also issued notifications to the plaintiff and the state government to get their responses to Jha’s plea within six weeks. The complainant had objected to a scene in the first episode of the series in which upper caste people are seen insulting and humiliating a husband from the Dalit community while participating in his wedding procession on horseback. The complainant said that this scene not only humiliates the Dalit community, but also encourages abusive behavior by people from upper castes. In the FIR against Jha, severe charges under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Atrocity Prevention) Act 1989 were also raised.
Jha’s lawyer Nishant Bora argued that the police did not have to introduce items under the SC / ST law as it was not an actual case of insulting anyone , but only the representation of a fictitious situation.
Ashram sees actor Bobby Deol try out the role of a self-proclaimed godman, sentenced to life imprisonment for raping a minor in his ashram. Jha also faces a second plea in which he was accused of harming Hindu feelings. The complainant argued that Bobby Deol’s character as a rapist, corrupt and drug trafficker has hampered the image and place of the saints held by Hindus. The court, however, refused to order the police to file an FIR and instead issued notices to Jha and Deol, asking for their responses to the allegations.
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