The Delhi High Court on Tuesday allowed the film Batla House to be released on Independence Day after the filmmakers and an accused in the encounter case reached an agreement on specific changes to the film, PTI reported. The judge passed the consent order and said that the makers of the movie were bound by their statement.
The court of Justice Vibhu Bakhru delivered the judgment on a petition filed by the accused, Ariz Khan, who sought a delay in the film’s release as it would affect his trial. The film’s postponement was also pursued by Shahzad Ahmed, who had been given a life term in the encounter case and has challenged the verdict in the High Court. Khan and Ahmed are also accused and facing trial in the 2008 Delhi serial blasts case.
The filmmakers claimed that the petitioners were under “unsubstantiated apprehension” that they were featured as characters in the film. However, the makers agreed to put disclaimers and delete a few scenes in the movie that Khan and Ahmed were opposed to.
They also agreed to mute the word “mujahideen” in the movie and delete the photo of a Delhi Police official who headed the Batla House encounter, Bar and Bench reported. After the petition was filed, a special screening was arranged for the judge and the lawyers for all parties.
Earlier this month, the two petitioners had approached the court alleging that the film had “wilfully and deliberately” ignored the legal procedure and showcased a definitive account or findings in the encounter case. They claimed that it would affect the right of the accused for a free and fair trial as it may cause prejudice.
The filmmakers, however, had told the court that a significant portion of the film was dedicated to the personal life of the protagonist and that they had attempted to show the narrative of the Delhi Police.
The Batla House encounter took place in 2008 when Delhi Police officials shot down two alleged members of the terrorist group Indian Mujahideen. The men were also accused of being involved in a series of bombings across Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi earlier that year.