Freedom of expression

India cutting a sorry figure with threats issued to artists, says Bombay High Court

The bench asked why the investigation agencies were not able to arrest the main accused in the murder cases of Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.

The Bombay High Court on Thursday said India was cutting a “sorry figure” after open threats were being issued to artists and others who voice their opinions, PTI reported. The bench was hearing petitions filed by family members of deceased rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, seeking court supervision on their murder probe.

The High Court made a reference to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmavati, which has been at the centre of controversy after Rajput groups and others accused the director of straying from facts in the movie. The bench observed that while Bhansali has not been able to release his film, while actress Deepika Padukone is facing death threats.

“In this country, we have come to a situation where people cannot voice their opinions,” Justice Dharmadhikari said, according to PTI. “Every time a person says he or she wants to voice their opinion, somebody or a fringe group says they would not allow it. This does not augur well for the state.”

The judge said Dabholkar was killed in 2013 and Pansare was killed in 2015, however, the investigating agencies have not been able to arrest the main suspects.

“We cannot allow such serious matters to linger for years,” the bench said. “We cannot allow constitutional rights to be taken away. Enough damage has been caused already. Has any senior official from the two agencies bothered to find out why the probe is not getting any headway?”

The court ordered that a meeting be convened with the secretary of the state’s home department, director general of police, joint director of CBI with additional solicitor general Anil Singh and Ashok Mundargi.

The bench has now posted the matter for further hearing on December 21.

Dharmadhikari said states like Maharashtra and Karnataka were known for their “progressive and modern thinking”, PTI reported. “Maharashtra and Karnataka are known for social reformers and thinkers and with such incidents these states are cutting a sorry figure politically too,” he added.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Some of the most significant innovations in automotive history made their debut in this iconic automobile

The latest version features India's first BS VI norms-compliant engine and a host of 'intelligent' features.

The S-Class, also known as Sonderklasse or special class, represents Mercedes Benz’ top-of-the-line sedan line up. Over the decades, this line of luxury vehicles has brought significant automotive technologies to the mainstream, with several firsts to its credit and has often been called the best car in the world. It’s in the S-Class that the first electronic ESP and ABS anti-lock braking system made their debut in the 20th century.

Twenty first-century driver assistance technologies which predict driver-behaviour and the vehicle’s course in order to take preventive safety measures are also now a staple of the S-Class. In the latest 2018 S-Class, the S 350 d, a 360-degree network of cameras, radars and other sensors communicate with each other for an ‘intelligent’ driving experience.

The new S-Class systems are built on Mercedes Benz’s cutting-edge radar-based driving assistance features, and also make use of map and navigation data to calculate driving behaviour. In cities and on other crowded roads, the Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC helps maintain the distance between car and the vehicle in front during speeds of up to 210 kmph. In the same speed range, Active Steering Assist helps the driver stay in the centre of the lane on stretches of straight road and on slight bends. Blind Spot Assist, meanwhile, makes up for human limitations by indicating vehicles present in the blind spot during a lane change. The new S-Class also communicates with other cars equipped with the Car-to-X communication system about dicey road conditions and low visibility due to fog, rain, accidents etc. en route.

The new S-Class can even automatically engage the emergency system when the driver is unable to raise an alarm. Active Emergency Stop Assist brings the car to a stop if it detects sustained periods of inactivity from the driver when Active Steering Assist is switched on. If the driver doesn’t respond to repeated visual and audible prompts, it automatically activates the emergency call system and unlocks the car to provide access to first responders.

The new Mercedes-Benz S 350 d in India features another notable innovation – the country’s first BS VI norms-compliant car engine, in accordance with government regulations to control vehicular pollution. Debuting two years before the BS VI deadline of 2020, the S 350 d engine also remains compatible with the current BS IV fuels.

The S 350 d is an intelligent car made in India, for Indian roads - in the Mercedes Benz S-Class tradition. See the video below to know what drives the S-Class series by Mercedes Benz.

To know more about the 2018 S-Class, click here.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Mercedes Benz and not by the Scroll editorial team.