Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that a ‘no objection certificate’ had been given by the Home Ministry for filming the Nirbhaya documentary in July 2013.
The controversial issue led to the adjournment of the House for 15 minutes earlier. Mr. Singh said the jail authority had given permission to Leslie Udwin and Anjali Bhushan for the documentary, following conditions that prior permission will be required for releasing the film and publishing papers.
The Minister said they were said that only those convicts who had given written consent could be interviewed The other condition imposed was that the complete unedited footage will be shown to jail authorities to ensure no breach of prison security.
The Minister said the government will inquire into how the documentary was being released for public viewing.
He said the conditions for permission were violated and a legal notice was issued on April 7, 2014, and the documentary makers were asked to return the footage.
The Home Minister said he feels “personally hurt” that the permission was given. The government has already secured a stay order to not allow the documentary to be aired, he added.
“Our government condemns the incident and will not allow any attempt to leverage such incident for commercial benefits,” he said, adding, “I am surprised by the conditions in which the permission was granted. In future, such permissions will not be given.”
MPs cutting across party lines criticised the permission given to the documentary makers and demanded action from the government. MP Ali Anwar wanted to know why there is a delay in handing out punishment to the rapists.
MP Anu Aga said the House is not confronting the issues that need to be handled. She added that banning the documentary is not the issue. “We have to confront that men in India do not respect women. These are the views of many men in India and let’s not pretend all is well,” she said.
Poet and MP Javed Akhtar, said there is anger because of what the rapist has said about women in the documentary. “We have heard such comments in this House, it is good that this documentary has been made, because the men will realise they think like a rapist,” he said.
Jaya Bachchan pushed for speedy justice while Rajni Patel of the Congress said men should not play the role of moral police. She said the media should not have publicised this interview.
Ambica Soni of the Congress said in this particular case we were surprised at how the people got permission, “I am told it was for a study and an inquiry has to be made how it got into the public arena. We have been demanding quick trials. “
BJP’s Nirmala Sitharaman said it is an issue on which there is no division in the House. “I am Grateful that the Home Minister took speedy action through courts,” she said.
BSP chief Mayawati said, “The steps taken to stop airing of the documentary is appreciated, but the authorities who gave permission for the filming needs to be inquired into.”