NATIONAL

Chautala loses plea against TV serial on recruitment scam

But producers should guard against direct similarity of characters

The Supreme Court has allowed Sony TV to telecast episodes of Crime Patrol Dastak , featuring a teacher recruitment scam in Haryana, but by ensuring that there is no direct similarity of the characters in the serial with the former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and others.

A Bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices Anil R. Dave and Vikramajit Sen on Friday dismissed an appeal filed by Mr. Chautala and others to restrain the channel from telecasting the episodes based on the scam, for which he has been convicted by a trial court.

The petition challenged a Delhi High Court Division Bench order, which set aside a single judge’s February 22 ruling restraining Sony TV from telecasting the episodes till April 4, when the appeal by Mr. Chautala and others challenging their conviction was to come up for hearing.

Writing the order, the CJI said the court agreed with Harish Salve, senior counsel, that once the trial had been completed and the petitioners convicted and arrested, “there is no further possibility of any bias against them at the time of hearing of the appeal. The contents of the trial and the ultimate judgment of conviction and sentence are now in the public domain.”

However, “in order to safeguard the interests of the petitioners,” the producers, directors, distributors and all those connected with the screening of the episodes “shall ensure that there is no direct similarity of the characters in the serial with the petitioners, who have been convicted in connection with the JBT Teachers Recruitment and that steps are taken to protect their identity, as far as possible,” the Bench said.

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