Don't whine, don't watch Jolly LLB if it offends you, SC tells lawyers

Jolly LLB
Defeated once in court but still determined to protect the "dignity" of their profession, a group of lawyers from Meerut knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court on Friday to stop the release of Jolly LLB. Only to be told by the court that Jolly was only a film that need not be taken to heart.

Trailers of the film — which released on Friday — show Jagdish Tyagi aka Jolly LLB (Arshad Warsi), a struggling lawyer from Meerut, get a rap from a judge (Saurabh Shukla) for misspelling prosecution as prostitution. Lawyers from the UP town found it offensive and contemptuous.

The Supreme Court, however, showed it was not willing to lose its sense of humour.

"What is your problem with the dialogues? In our courts also, we get several petitions with spelling and other mistakes. Appeals are spelt as apples, section 171 as section 17, and similar such mistakes. These things do happen in courts," a bench of Justices R M Lodha and Madan B Lokur said.

The lawyers, who claimed they were graduates of Meerut Law College, Chaudhary Charan Singh University, had approached the apex court against Delhi High Court's refusal to stay the release of the film, which they said was defamatory to the legal fraternity.

The SC regretted the lawyers' "unnecessary" grumbling after their counsel conceded that Jagdish Tyagi aka Jolly LLB was not a real person. "Then what are you complaining about? It is only a fictitious character, based on a fictitious story. This is shocking," the bench said.

Justice Lodha, who spent 13 years as a judge of Bombay High Court, said: "These things happen in movies. They show Bombay High Court's door and gate and then show something else happening inside. These are all fictitious things."

When the petitioners' counsel attempted to draw the court's attention to allegedly defamatory dialogues in the film, Justice Lodha recalled Shakespeare — 'The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers' in Measure for Measure.

"We are not using those words here, but you don't have to bother about everything," he said. It is for the Censor Board to consider the language of a film, and not our job," Justice Lodha said.

The court advised the lawyers not to watch the film or take their families to the theatre if they found the dialogues offensive. "If the movie is useless in your opinion, don't watch it at all. You know you will not enjoy it, so don't go. You are giving undue importance to the issue. Let those go to theatres who want to watch it."

With the writing on the wall, the lawyers sought permission to withdraw their plea, and the court ordered: "Dismissed as withdrawn".

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