• Mandavi Banerjee

Writ Petition to Delhi HC to alter the objectionable dialogues and scenes in the movie Gujan Saxena.

Updated: Aug 29

News Article covered by Mandavi Banerjee.

The petitioners filed a Writ Petition under Article 226, seeking a writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate Writ, Order, Directions from this Hon'ble Court. This petition concerns itself with the indulgence of this Hon'ble Court to issue directions to the Respondents for seeking a Writ like a Mandamus or any other appropriate Writ, Order, Directions of like nature directing the Respondents to modify or delete the objectionable dialogues and scenes in the movie Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, which portrays the prestigious Indian Air Force (IAF) in undue low light. This petition was filed as a Public Interest Litigation by many, one of them being Advocate Satyam Singh who is also the President of the Justice for Right Foundation was one of them. Advocate Satyam Singh played a crucial role in filing and presenting this case to the Delhi High Court.

In the garb of creative and artistic freedom, the production house of the film Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl has portrayed the Indian Air Force in an undue negative light. Some scenes and dialogues in the movie are factually incorrect, misleading and portray an inappropriate work culture to glorify the screen character of the former Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena. Several male officers have been projected as misogynists to suit the film's false narrative. The false and negative portrayal of the Indian Air Force is an abuse of freedom of expression which ought to be censured. Before the release of the movie Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, the IAF had requested Dharma Production to modify or delete the objectionable scenes that portray the IAF in the negative light.

As per the initial understanding, the Dharma Production had promised to "represent Indian Air Force with authenticity and to make all efforts to ensure that the film helps inspire the next generation of IAF officers". The production house did not modify or delete the scenes objected to by the Air Force, they just simply inserted a disclaimer. The mere disclaimer would not be sufficient and adequate to prevent the presentation of incorrect facts about the Indian Air Force.

The gender discrimination which has been portrayed in the movie Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl is incorrect, false and misleading. Over and above, it is not factually corroborated. The glorious and prestigious Indian Air Force has ensured that the organisation is gender neutral and has always provided an equal opportunity to both male and female personnel. It is a well-known fact that the Indian Air Force (IAF) has the largest number of women officers serving actively. The Indian Air Force was the first to open all its branches to women officers, including Combat roles in 2015. The movie Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl has lowered the standing of the prestigious and glorious Indian Air Force in the eyes of the ordinary citizens. We hold our armed forces in the highest esteem, and show our utmost respect to them. The Indian Air Force, which is the epitome of Valour, courage and sacrifice, cannot be allowed to be portrayed in the negative light. In the garb of artistic and creative freedom, we should not allow the image of our armed forces being tarnished and maligned. The blatant attempt on the part of the production house of the movie to portray and depict the Indian Air Force in the negative light weakens the courage and morale of the next generation of IAF officers. Hence, there is an emergent and compelling need for intervention by this Hon'ble Court and it is indispensable and imperative for this Court to direct the Respondents to delete or modify the scenes and dialogues to which the Indian Air Force has objected. The negative portrayal of the Indian Air Force by the producer of the movie has maligned and tarnished the prestige of the Indian Air Force. If the objectionable dialogues and scenes are not deleted or removed from the movie, then it will cause an irreparable loss in terms of prestige and reputation of the Indian Air Force.

After hearing the grounds of the petition, the Prayer was as follows: 1. Issue Appropriate Writ/Order/Directions like mandamus to the Respondents herein to modify or delete the dialogues and scenes in the movie Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl that portrays a negative image of reputed and prestigious The Indian Air Force. 2. Stay the streaming of the Motion Picture Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl on the OTT platform Netflix till such time the inaccurate, false and misleading portrayal of The Indian Air Force through the dialogues and scenes in the said movie is not modified or deleted. 3. Direct the respondents herein to issue an unconditional apology to the Indian Air Force for maligning and tarnishing their outstanding and distinguished reputation and prestige. 4. Pass such other, and further orders as this Hon'ble Court may deem fit and proper in the interests of Justice and Equity. This matter is listed for 28th August 2020.

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