Every year, November 9 is celebrated as ‘Legal Services Day’ in all Indian states Authorities by organising legal literacy camps and functions. Legal Services Day was first started in 1995 by the Supreme Court of India to offer legal services free of charge to people from the weaker and poor sections of the society. Recently, India’s media and entertainment industries have been rocked after numerous women came out sharing stories of the abuse they faced at the hands of powerful men.
The #MeToo movement which was started a year ago gained momentum in India only after Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta accused veteran actor Nana Patekar for inappropriate behaviour on the set of ‘Horn OK Pleasss’ in 2008. The actor denied the accusation. Here’s is a look at some of the popular personalities who landed in soup after the MeToo movement came out and the lawyers/law firms fighting for those accused in the MeToo movement.
Nana Patekar – Advocate Rajendra Shirodkar
According to Dutta, Patekar had asked her to do intimate dance steps with him in the movie and after she refused, her car was attacked by a right-wing Hindu group. She has now lodged a formal complaint with the police and with the women’s commission through her lawyer. Patekar has denied allegations against him and has sent a legal notice to the actress. Nana His lawyer Rajendra Shirodkar has sent a legal notice to Dutta asking her to apologise or face further legal action.
MJ Akbar – Karanjawala & Co
Journalist turned politician MJ Akbar has filed a criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani, who is among the 15 other women journalists who have accused Akbar of sexual harassment. The case has been filed against Ramani through his advocate Karanjawala & Co. There were reports that a team of 97 advocates will fight the allegations. However, the law firm has stated that only six will appear in the case. Karanjawala & Co is founded by Rajan and Manik Karanjawala, who has been associated with popular business and political personalities. His area of expertise is high profile and politically sensitive cases. Karanjawala has also represented Tarun Tejpal in the rape case against him.
Alok Nath – Advocate Ashok Saraogi
Writer-producer Vinta Nanda has accused veteran actor Alok Nath of raping her 19 years ago. The actor has also been accused by actresses Sandhya Mridul and Deepika Amin. After Nanda has revealed her story in a Facebook post, the Cine and TV Artistes Association (CINTAA) has sent a show-cause notice to Alok Nath.
Alok Nath’s lawyer Ashok Saraogi has stated that the allegations are mostly for popularity. Speaking to ANI, Ashok Saraogi, said, “It is easy to make the allegations, of an incident which took place 19 years back; this itself shows that the allegations are false on the face of it. A person will never wait for a period of 19 years to make such allegations, especially when we have a democracy, when we have a proper ministry over here, to look after all these things.”
Ashok Saraogi is also handling former Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Pahlaj Nihalani’s petition to quash CBFC order of November 2, 2016, and grant necessary certification for his upcoming movie ‘Rangeela Raja’ starring Govinda. According to the CBFC, the movie ‘objectifies women and glorifies violence against them’ and has ordered 20 cuts in it.
Anu Malik – Zulfiquar Memon
Singer Shweta Pandit in a Twitter post has accused Anu Malik of being a ‘sexual predator and pedophile’. She stated that he misbehaved with her in the year 2000 and told her that if she kisses her he would offer her a song with Sunidhi Chauhan and Shaan. Singer Sona Mohapatra has also called him a ‘serial predator’. Anu Malik has denied all the allegations against him while his lawyer, Zulfiquar Memon said that the #MeeToo movement is being used for his client’s character assassination. In a statement published by a leading daily has quoted Malik’s lawyer Zulfiquar Memon was quoted saying, “The allegations made against my client are emphatically denied as completely false and my client respects the #MeToo movement but to use this movement to start a character assassination mission is obnoxious”.