The Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed a public interest litigation that sought a ban on The Accidental Prime Minister and its trailer on the grounds that it defamed the constitutional post of the prime minister, PTI reported. The film is scheduled to release on January 11.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao ruled that petitioner Pooja Mahajan had no locus standi to file the plea and that she was moved by private interest.
The film features actor Anupam Kher as former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It is based on Sanjaya Baru’s 2014 memoir of the same name and details Singh’s relationship with the Congress party’s Gandhi family.
Mahajan, a Delhi-based fashion designer, alleged that the film misused the provisions of the Cinematograph Act. She claimed that the movie and the trailer affected the image of the office of the prime minister and gave it a bad name at both national and international levels.
“By performing the character of Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, the performing actors/artists have committed offences punishable under sections 416 (cheating by impersonation) of the Indian Penal Code and therefore, the Central Board of Film Certification could not have given the certificate for screening/exhibition of the film,” the petition claimed.
However, producers Sunil Bohra and Dhaval Gada on Wednesday told the court that they were not made a party to plea and no order should be passed without hearing them. Advocate Sangram Patnaik said any adverse order would affect the producers as their money was at stake.
A single-judge bench of the High Court on Monday had dismissed Mahajan’s petition and had asked her to file a public interest litigation instead.
The film has been embroiled in controversy, with a Bihar court on Tuesday ordering a first information report to be filed against actors Anupam Kher, Akshaye Khanna and 15 others. The petition, filed by advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha, had listed the film’s producer and director and claimed that the movie portrayed the former prime minister and several public figures “in a bad light”.