In a big relief to actress Raveena Tandon, choreographer-director Farah Khan and comedian Bharti Singh of The Kapil Sharma Show, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has said that no coercive steps should be taken against them. This was after several FIRs were filed against them for hurting religious sentiments of the Christian community during a TV show.
A report by news agency PTI said that Justice Ashok Kumar Verma on Thursday issued a notice to Punjab government and other respondents for 25 March by directing them to not take any ‘coercive steps’ until then.
Farah and Raveena had moved the court seeking the quashing of the FIR. Their lawyer Abhinav Sood was quoted as saying, “None of the ingredients pertaining to offence under IPC Section 295-A are made out.” Sood said that the FIR was ‘illegal, ex-facie bad in law, and by virtue thereof the same be quashed and set aside.’
The three artists were accused of making fun of the religiously pious word Hallelujah in a programme called Backbenchers. Bharti had also wrongly spelled Hallelujah on a blackboard.
The first police complaint against the three entertainment celebrities was filed by one Sonu Jafar in Amritsar of Punjab. Two more police cases were registered later in the state’s Ferozpur and Rupnagar districts. Another FIR was filed in Maharashtra’s Beed district. Angry Christians had also staged protests in some places in Punjab and Jammu.
Sood argued that their statements during the TV programme could not be ‘perceived to be disrespectful or hurtful to the sentiments of the Christian brothers or do not remotely qualify to constitute an offence under Section 295-A IPC.’
All three celebrities had later apologised individually seeking forgiveness from the Christian community.