In the matter of Om Prakash Lakhyani Trustee & Ors v UOI & Ors In a petition against the release of Sirf ek Banda Kaafi Hai, Asaram, who is currently incarcerated, and Om Prakash Lakhani argued that the movie was based on their lives without their consent and painted a negative picture of them. Zee5 Studio produced and directed the movie.
The petitioner claimed that the movie, which reportedly depicts Asaram as a wicked character named “Ravana” who has done horrific acts, has damaged his reputation and privacy rights. He further mentioned that Asaram’s criminal appeal against the verdict and order that resulted in his conviction in a rape case is still ongoing before the High Court. Therefore, the respondents should not have created and released the aforementioned movie while the appeal was pending.
The respondents asserted that there is a clear disclaimer in the movie’s opening scene stating it is a fictitious work inspired by publicly available real-life events. Furthermore, it was asserted that none of the information alleged by the petitioners—including the victim’s name, photos, family information, school, neighbourhood, etc.—can be found in the video. Therefore, they have not in any way transgressed the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act or the Indian Penal Code.
Analysis of Court order
Sirf Ek Banda Kaafi Hai, starring Manoj Bajpayee, will not be released in theatres or on Over-the-Top (OTT) platforms, according to an appeal filed by self-described godman Asaram Bapu, which the Rajasthan High Court single bench Justice Pushpendra Singh Bhati denied.
The court said that after viewing the film’s trailer, it becomes clear that the petitioner has no connection to it at all. Therefore, the petitioners have not been able to establish a prima facie case to convince this Court to issue a temporary restraining order regarding the disputed movie. If the respondents violate the petitioners’ reputation or dignity, they may file a lawsuit for damages and defamation; however, this Court does not believe that the petitioners have suffered any irreparable harm as a result of the given factual matrix.
The Bench added that because the film had already been released, relief could not be given now because the petitioners had not filed their complaint in a timely way. The makers of the movie would suffer severe financial loss if a stay was granted. In the second week of July, the Court set the matter for hearing and ordered the Deputy Solicitor General, who was representing the Central government, to submit a proper response to important questions involving certification, privacy violations, the function of a lawyer in an ongoing case, and other matters.