Delhi HC allows ‘Batla House’ Independence Day release — with riders

DELHI : The Delhi High Court Monday allowed release of the movie, ‘Batla House’, starring John Abraham, on Independence Day on the condition that the filmmaker will put a disclaimer that none of the characters in the film resemble anyone in real life, and that the story is fictional in nature.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru also made it clear that the film will not be re-submitted before the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for further approval on account of certain changes.

“The film will not be held from release on August 15,” the court said, adding that the order was passed after all parties arrived at a settlement based on certain modifications in the film and putting up the disclaimers.

The court further asked the director and producer, who were present in court, not to put actual photograph of the then special cell officer, who had led the team at the time of encounter at a flat in Jamia Nagar.

The encounter took place on September 19, 2008, when a team of the Delhi Police Special Cell raided a Batla House flat in South Delhi’s Jamia Nagar, following a tip-off that terrorists, allegedly involved in the September 13, 2008, serial blasts in the national capital, were holed up there. Inspector M C Sharma was killed in the raid.

The court said the producers and directors shall mute the word “mujahid” used by a ‘terrorist’ shown confessing in the movie, and shall cut the scene where it was shown that explosive devices were being made at the house where the encounter took place.

The court was hearing a plea by blast accused Ariz Khan, who has moved court seeking to postpone the release of the film, saying it would adversely affect his trial which is going before a lower court.

Apart from him, Shahzad Ahmed, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment in the case and who has challenged the verdict in High Court, also sought an order restraining the release of the film on Independence Day.

Ahmed, whose appeal against his conviction and sentence is pending in the High Court, has contended that the film would affect adjudication of his appeal and his trial in the case, pertaining to the serial bomb blasts in Delhi on September 13, 2008.

The petition claimed that the film shows a link between the bomb blasts and the encounter, and would therefore prejudicially affect the trial in both cases.

It also alleged that posters and trailer of the film depict the petitioners as terrorists and guilty of crimes they are accused of, even before the trial court has pronounced its verdict in the blasts case and the encounter case against Khan.