Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘supreme court

Madhur Bhandarkar
Is Madhur Bhandarkar a victim of the country’s rape laws?

TEAM BT Times News Network (November 19, 2009)


Poor Madhur Bhandarkar. The Bollywood filmmaker, who’s just had a critically acclaimed release in Jail, finds himself in the dock once again for rape charges by aspiring actress Preeti Jain dating back to July 2004. Fortunately, the Andheri Metropolitan Magistrate who rejected the Versova Police’s adverse report of the charges from back then and decided to conduct an inquiry into the case, has not ordered Bhandarkar’s arrest. The flamboyant filmmaker is not unduly worried by this development. “But my family is going through trauma,” he admitted to BT. It is a bittersweet moment for him. The news comes at a time when he is in Egypt attending the Cairo International Film Festival where five of his films — Chandni Bar, Traffic Signal, Page 3, Corporate and Fashion — are being screened as a tribute to Indian cinema. “My films reflect society and are liked by the classes and masses,” said Madhur, “I’ve got name and fame after a struggle, and I request society not to make a judgement until the case is over, so please don’t give me a trial in the media, I have faith in the judiciary.” But, the question uppermost in people’s minds is this: is Madhur a victim of the country’s rape laws? The filmmaker, naturally, thinks so. “It also amounts to blackmail,” he alleged of this sordid bit of dirty linen that was washed in public by the starlet.


Facts of the case
In July 2004, Preeti had lodged a complaint with the Versova Police against Madhur alleging he had raped her 16 times between 1999 and 2004 under the pretext of casting her as actress in his films. Madhur insists the complaint was of “cheating” and did not mention rape.

Our View: Irrespective of what relationship they shared, how can what happened between Madhur and Preeti amount to rape? She claims she was raped 16 times in four years, which is not like saying several times in one night. If this was rape, what prevented her from going to the police after the first incident? Why wait four years? And what prompted the complaint? Was it outrage, jealousy, indignation, a burning desire to teach the man a lesson? If Madhur had promised to cast her in his films, and if he had honoured this alleged commitment, would their alleged sex still be rape? The humiliation, the hurt, the abuse of body and soul that is caused by rape, is as much the 16th time as it would be the first… and any woman suffering this exploitation for four years and then crying rape, sounds like she’s complaining against rejection. Not the sexual act itself.

What is Rape?

The dictionary defines it as “the unlawful compelling of a woman through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse; and the act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person”. The Supreme Court’s expansive interpretation of rape in recent years has been to stretch the ambit to include consensual sex based on ‘‘false promise to marry’’. What was clearly never in its contemplation was to bring the casting couch — promise to give work in exchange of sex — under the definition of rape. Even if Preeti’s allegations are taken at face value, it is debatable whether they constitute prima facie evidence to try Madhur on the charge of rape. The allegation, if a promise was made and broken, is a case of fraud. But when sex is involved, courts tend to treat it as a case of rape. Sex by deceit. The opening made by the Supreme Court to provide relief to those who had been deceived into having sex on false promise to marry cannot be pushed further for the sake of those who claim to have been deceived similarly by false promise to give work.


Our view
The idea that sexual intercourse between a man and a woman can occur only if they intend to marry clearly has no place in a liberal society. Also, if the woman gets into a physical relationship because she has been fooled into believing that marriage is on the cards, we may question the morality of the man, but is it not extreme to equate his deception with rape? We would suggest that it is time the law adopted a more nuanced approach to what is universally acknowledged to be a complex issue. Having a breach of promise law to deal with such cases would be more suitable than clubbing it with rape, which is an extremely violent offence.


Is having sex for work any different from prostitution?
This does not come under deception and so on or being conned on the basis of a false promise of marriage, etc. In the case of the casting couch, the lady gives consent as she has been promised something and if she is able to prove that she was deceived into giving her consent then it does attract the provisions of the law… but this, of course, is quite difficult to prove.
— M N Singh,
Former Mumbai Police Commissioner


The starlet cannot say it’s rape. She can call it cheating. She cannot say that “I had sex with him because he promised me work.” This kind of deal is anyway not legal. She had no business to sell herself for a role. If she had alleged (and could prove) that the filmmaker agreed to marry her, then this would have been worth considering. But as it is, she has no case here. If she was a commercial call girl, then this would perhaps fall into the category of prostitution.
— Majeed Memon,
Criminal Lawyer

Swati Deshpande | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; September 30, 2009)


Mumbai: He’s a “small-time actor’’, and while he may be no “saint’’, he’s “no rapist’’ either. This is what actor Shiney Ahuja’s lawyers said, seeking bail pending trial on charges of raping his 20-year old maid at his Andheri home one morning.


In a fresh bid for freedom after spending more than 100 days in jail, the 35-yearold actor–through his counsel Shirish Gupte along with Shrikant Shivade–said the “victim has not even used the word ‘rape’ in her statement to the magistrate regarding the June 14 incident’’. She “had no external injuries, creating doubts over her claim that she resisted him’’, they said. The complainant had called Ahuja many times from her cellphone the pre
vious night, said Gupte.


Forensic experts have said earlier that the absence of external injuries did not mean there was no rape. A woman could be forced into the act by the threat of violence, experts reasoned.


The panchnama noted that when he was arrested on June 15, Ahuja’s left wrist and right little finger had a “nail mark’’ which the actor claimed were sustained while he was working out, and not from the victim’s nails.


The DNA analysis showed no profile was obtained from the victim’s vulval swab, but did find some evidence to match Ahuja’s “control blood component’’ in one of her smear slides. “The reports fail to conclusively establish rape,’’ Ahuja’s plea said, suggesting it was “a consensual act’’.


Saying bail was a rule and not an exception as held in numerous Supreme Court judgements, Gupte said even medical evidence had “little against the actor’’. There was “no semen and blood’’
found on the victim in the panchanama on his or her clothes and at the scene of offence, he added.


Ahuja’s bail was rejected by the sessions court in July on the grounds that he may tamper with the witness because he was “rich and influential’’. But Gupte said: “How is he influential? He has just made his name in a few films. Besides she stays in Raigad district and will only come for the trial. He doesn’t know where she is.’’


The written bail plea, however, describes Ahuja as a “well-known film personality, having won several professional awards… with roots in society’’.


The hearing will continue in the court of Justice A P Deshpande on Wednesday, when the prosecutor will oppose the bail plea.


The maid had narrated the entire incident of “forcible sexual intercourse’’ to neighbours Adarsh Gupta and Sanjeet Kaur. The neighbours then took her to the police station at Oshiwara to file the complaint.

Wanted

Swati Deshpande I TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; September 10, 2009)


Mumbai: The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed film producer Boney Kapoor to release his film Wanted (actor Prabhudeva’s directorial debut and a Salman Khan and Ayesha Takia-starrer) on its scheduled release date of September 18 against a deposit of Rs 2 crore in court within a week.


Kapoor had, through his lawyers Mukul Rohtagi and Ameet Naik, rushed to the apex court against a Bombay high court order directing him to furnish Rs 10 crore as security deposit in his dispute with B4U group. The high court had restrained Kapoor from creating third-party rights in respect of five films being produced by him, including Wanted. Taking the HC order to mean that Wanted would be left wanting a re
lease, he moved the SC in appeal. The apex court clarified that he could release the film.


Kapoor had signed an MoU with a B4U company in September 2006 for a joint venture to produce films. As Kapoor was in a debt trap and the JV understanding was still being discussed, LMB (a B4U group company) executed an agreement in August 2007 and extended an advance of Rs 10 crore to acquire rights of Kapoor’s five films. But the price of the five films was not fixed and Kapoor said he and B4U were unable to reach any joint-venture understanding. Kapoor’s claim was that he had to produce films to get out of his debt trap and “in the absence of any funds from B4U, he joined hands with Sahara and produced Wanted’’.


Aggrieved at Kapoor’s act, B4U filed a petition in December 2008 after more than a year to secure its claim of Rs 10 crore. The HC in February dismissed the petition on the grounds of delay, but allowed B4U to move before a sole arbitrator, who also dismissed B4U’s petition. Against the arbitration, B4U filed an appeal in the HC and succeeded. The HC directed Kapoor to deposit Rs 10 crore and not create further assignments.


Senior counsel Ashok Desai appearing for B4U did not object to the film’s release, but wanted Rs 10 crore deposited. Kapoor said that since it was just one film’s release, Rs 2 crore would be appropriate at this stage. Kapoor’s petition will be heard on September 29.


By Subhash K. Jha, September 3, 2009 – 13:21 IST

Katrina Kaif On Tuesday morning, the appeals court in Kolkata ordered that the entire Box-Office collections of the Bengali film Poran Jay Jolaye Re be deposited in the court. The film which was released a couple of months ago to a rousing welcome in Bengal is said to have so far collected whopping figures at the Box-Office.

By depositing the entire collection at the Box-Office, the producers Venkatesh Films of the Bengali film stand to lose a substantial amount of money.

Says Vipul, “They’ve to deposit every single penny that the film has collected. The judgment of the appeals court says that the ‘entire’ Box-Office collection of the Bengali film be deposited in court. It is historic in terms of violation of copyright infringement. To know the court can stop a film is a clear signal that plagiarism can be fought. The judgment will now be a reference point for all plagiarism cases. It was needed. Every filmmaker contemplating plagiarism will now think twice.”

The alleged copyright violators of the Bengali film can now appeal in the Supreme Court. As for the money that the court has confiscated from the Bengali film’s collection, it is now legally a part of a damage suit that Vipul chooses to file.

“However I don’t want any monetary compensation. That wasn’t my intention. I wanted to make a strong case against copyright infringement. The honourable court has done the needful. I think its victory for all us filmmakers. We used to make a joke about copyright laws by saying copyright means the right to copy. I think the joke has now ended.”

Akshay Kumar who’s the co-producer of Namastey London has decided not to sign any film that he knows to be an illegal copy

Says Akshay, “By God’s grace, all my films seem to be original. Even Vipul’s Action Replay which some people think is a copied from elsewhere (The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button) is original. People who spread these rumours should be careful. Copying films is as serious an offence as accusing an original work of being a copy.”

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

…asks Sanjay Dutt to whom many countries are denying a visa, and who is likely to face TADA charges again

SUBHASH K JHA Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; August 27, 2009)


Poor Sanjay Dutt. The start of his 50th year, has turned out to be most inauspicious for the actor. Bollywood producers are quickly discovering that not too many countries are keen to have Dutt as a guest on their soil for location shoots abroad. Except for South Africa and Thailand, where Dutt is welcome, visas are hard to come by nowadays for the beleaguered actor. And filmmakers like Mani Shankar are figuring out ways to shoot their entire films with Dutt in the lead at home now.


Meanwhile, further trouble for Dutt comes in the form of the law ministry planning to move Supreme Court challenging the acquital of the actor under TADA in the serial blasts case of 1993. Dutt, who was charged under the Arms Act and sentenced to six years in prison, is out on bail since August 2007. In what is being whispered as a political move, given Dutt’s proximity to the Samajwadi Party
and its leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh, the government is doing a rethink on Dutt’s status. Its argument is that non-filing of an appeal against his acquital from TADA might work to the advantage of other similarly placed accused in the blasts case.


So Dutt — who requires the court’s permission to travel abroad, will have to reconcile to the fact that going abroad for shoots or to meet family and friends is going to be a near impossibility now. This he discovered when he was denied a visa to visit Amar Singh after the latter’s kidney surgery in Singapore. Now the actor has to wait for his political mentor’s return to India. However, Dutt’s wife Maanyata, who visited Amar Singh in Singapore, may do so again on his behalf. Wearing a brave face, a hurt and frustrated Dutt said, “I don’t want to be questioned at every airport. I want to have the freedom to walk into any consulate and get a visa for any country. When will I have this freedom?”