Adipurush Row| 'Shameful Portrayal Of Religious Icons Has Hurt Emotions Of People': Allahabad HC Seeks Personal Presence Of Film Makers, Dialogue Writer

Sparsh Upadhyay

1 July 2023 7:28 AM GMT

  • Adipurush Row| Shameful Portrayal Of Religious Icons Has Hurt Emotions Of People: Allahabad HC Seeks Personal Presence Of Film Makers, Dialogue Writer

    Observing that the shameful and disgusting portrayal of religious Icons including Lord Rama, Devi Sita and Lord Hanuman in the movie Adipurush has hurt the emotions of the people at large, the Allahabad High Court has sought the personal presence of movie Director (Om Raut), Producer (Bhushan Kumar) and Dialogue Writer (Manoj Muntashir Shukla) to explain their bonafide. The bench...

    Observing that the shameful and disgusting portrayal of religious Icons including Lord Rama, Devi Sita and Lord Hanuman in the movie Adipurush has hurt the emotions of the people at large, the Allahabad High Court has sought the personal presence of movie Director (Om Raut), Producer (Bhushan Kumar) and Dialogue Writer (Manoj Muntashir Shukla) to explain their bonafide.

    The bench of Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan and Justice Shree Prakash Singh has also directed the Central government to constitute a committee to ‘revisit’ the certificate issued to the Prabhas, Saif Ali Khan and Kriti Sanon starrer movie.

    In its order passed on June 28, the Court has also observed that filmmakers including the dialogue writer of the movie have shown the religious icons without taking care of the holiness and sanctity of those characters.

    In this regard, the Court further observed that in the name of freedom of speech and expression, no one can be permitted to do anything against decency or morality or against public order etc.

    To us, this film, prima facie, does not qualify the test as prescribed under Article 19 of the Constitution of India…Not only the dialogues of the film are so substandard having cheap language but so many scenes of the film depicting Devi Sita are disgraceful to her very character and some scenes depicting the wife of Vibhishana are prima-facie obscene also which are absolutely unwarranted and uncalled for. Even the depiction of Ravan, his Lanka etc. is so ridiculous and cheap,” the Court observed.
    “…while making such film, the film makers and the dialogue writer have not taken care of feelings and emotions of public at large depicting the characters and dialogues in shameful and vulgar manner knowingly well that those Icons/ Lords e.g. Lord Rama, Devi Sita and Lord Hanuman are worshiped by the large number of persons of the society,” the Court further added as it stressed that the Censor Board failed to discharge its legal duty while issuing a certificate to release the film without following the guidelines issued under Section 5-B of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

    Essentially, the Court made these observations while dealing with two PIL pleas seeking a direction to the Competent opposite parties to remove the objectionable dialogues and scenes from the Film ‘Adipurush’.

    The PIL pleas before the Court submit that the Movie is depicting religious Gods and other icons and characters in a disgusting and vulgar manner, thereby hurting the sentiments of the public at large who worship those religious Gods / Icons.

    Taking note of the averments in the pleas, the Court, in its order, observed that this was not a single film of this type and that as per the contentions of counsels for the petitioners, many other films have been produced earlier showing the Hindu Gods /Goddess/Icons in a shameful and disguising manner.

    If such type of illegal and immoral acts of the film makers are not checked at the earliest some more film may likely to be produced touching sensitive aspects of other religions besides Hindu religion,” the Court observed as it stressed the need of some stringent and deterrent action by the Competent Authority of the Central Government in the interest of the public at large of the country.

    In relation to the remark mentioned above, the Court also came down heavily upon the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India for not taking any suitable action immediately after the release of the film despite it having a proper mechanism in place to take appropriate steps to suspend or to revoke the certificate or to stop the exhibition of the film after noticing the huge unrest of public at large.

    However, instead of issuing any interim order or any coercive order against the opposite parties including the filmmaker or producer or dialogues writer, the Court found it appropriate to give one opportunity to the Competent Authority to revisit the issue/grievance of the public invoking its power under Section 6 of the Act, 1952.

    For context, Section 6 of the 1952 Act which provides revisional power to the Central Government which may call for records etc. relating to the grievance, if any and after being satisfied regarding said grievance may pass appropriate order.

    …if it is found that the grievance of the public at large as narrated in the PILs is genuine and the Censor Board has not followed the specific guidelines while issuing a certificate to the film, appropriate order may be passed under Section 5-E of the Act, 1952.”

    Section 5-E of the 1952 Act authorises the Central Government to suspend a certificate granted to the film in question for a particular period as it thinks fit or may revoke such certificate if the film is being exhibited in contradiction of the provisions of the Act and the Rules thereof.

    Significantly, the Court has also directed the UOI to constitute a committee of experts (within one week not) of not less than 5 in number, of which, two should be the persons who are well-versed with the Valmiki Ramayana, Tulsikriti Ramcharit Manas and other religious epics etc.

    (the order is being passed) so that it could be seen properly as to whether the depiction of story of the film of Lord Rama, Devi Sita, Lord Hanuman and Ravan etc. have been depicted in conformity with the Valmiki Ramayana etc. It would also be seen as to whether the picturization of Devi Sita and wife of Vibhishana are in conformity with the guidelines which clearly mandates that the Censor Board shall ensure that scenes degrading or denigrating women character in any manner are not presented inasmuch as the coloured photographs so enclosed with the writ petitions relating to Devi Sita and wife of Vibhishana are prima facie degrading the sanctity of those characters. Some scenes relating to the wife of Vibhishana in the film are appearing as obscene.

    The Court has sought a report of the committee along with the personal affidavit of the Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, by the next date of listing (July 27).

    The Court has also directed the Chairman, Board of Film Certification, to file his personal affidavit apprising the Court as to whether the guidelines for certification of films for the public exhibition have been followed in its letter and spirit while issuing a certificate to the film ‘Adipurush’.

    In the personal affidavit, all the details and the documents would be brought into notice of the Court to convince that the guidelines have been followed in its letter and spirit,” the Court added.

    Appearances

    For Petitioners: Ranjana Agnihotri, Sudha Sharma and Prince Lenin

    For Respondents: Senior Advocate and Deputy Solicitor General of India SB Pandey, assisted by Advocate Ashwani Kumar Singh (for Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Central Secretariat and Central Board of Film Certification); Additional Advocate General Vinod Kumar Shahi assisted by Chief Standing Counsel Shailendra Kumar Singh along with Additional Chief Standing Counsel Vivek Kumar Shukla (for the State)

    Case title - Kuldeep Tiwari And Another vs. Union Of India Thru. Secy. Ministry Of Information And Broadcasting And 13 Others along with a connected PIL plea

    Click Here To Read/Download Order



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