A city based NGO, People In Defence of Animals (PIDA) had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the screening of the film ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ in the Bombay High Court. PIDA alleged in the PIL that during the shooting of Jodhaa Akbar several animals including horses and elephants and birds perished due to the ill treatment meted out during the shooting of the film. The PIL was filed against Ashutosh Gowariker, Ronnie Screwvala, Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

The PIL came up for hearing before the division bench of Justice Nazki and Justice Bobde of the Bombay High Court, when the Advocate for PIDA appeared and argued that the animals and birds that perished on the sets of Jodhaa Akbar were ill treated and were left to succumb to the injuries caused once the shooting of the film was over. The Hon`ble Division Bench was absolutely critical of PIDA from the very beginning of the hearing and came down heavily on PIDA by remarking that PIDA was trying to take advantage of the publicity that it would gain by filing the PIL in the High Court instead of taking recourse in the appropriate forum as provided by law. The Hon`ble Court further opined that PIDA was not committed to the welfare of animals but was more committed to the publicity that it would gain out of filing the PIL in the High Court.

Justice Nazki even remarked that he had seen the film and had found nothing offensive in the film. Justice Bobade also remarked that if the horses were not reined then how was it possible to control them and can pulling the ear of an elephant be construed to ill treating the elephants.

The Hon`ble Court was inclined to dismiss the PIL with cost of Rs. 25,000/- with the intention of deterring any such frivolous litigation from being initiated in future. But the Advocate for PIDA requested the Hon`ble Court to grant PIDA permission to withdraw the Petition without any costs being imposed. The Hon`ble Court allowed the Advocate for PIDA to withdraw the Petition.