16 May 2023 8:43 AM GMT
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) plea has been moved before the Calcutta High Court challenging the West Bengal government's ban on the screening of the Movie 'The Kerala Story' stating that the movie raises the issue of 'Love Jihad' and in a democracy like ours, public discussion on such a subject is necessary.The PIL plea, filed by Devdutta Maji and Surman Ali Mandal, states that the May...
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) plea has been moved before the Calcutta High Court challenging the West Bengal government's ban on the screening of the Movie 'The Kerala Story' stating that the movie raises the issue of 'Love Jihad' and in a democracy like ours, public discussion on such a subject is necessary.
The PIL plea, filed by Devdutta Maji and Surman Ali Mandal, states that the May 8 order of the Government of West Bengal prohibiting the exhibition of the film in the entire state is prima facie not maintainable since it contravenes the proviso of subsection 2 of section 6 of the West Bengal Cinemas (Regulation) Act 1954.
The PIL plea further states that once the Central Board of Film Certification has granted certification to the film, non-exhibition of the same by the State is contrary to the statutory provisions and as such the same infringes the fundamental rights of the contesting parties like petitioners.
Importantly, the PIL plea submits that order of the State Government, in itself, provides a note and cast aspersions on the Muslim Community of the State of West Bengal as a whole, since the film after its release on 5th May had been exhibited in cinemas till 8th May, and not a single incident has been reported in the State of that of hatred or violence and as such the presumption exhibited in the purported Order dated 08.05.2023 is groundless, illegal and hence is liable to be set aside forthwith.
"...the film deals with the malafide acts and plots of the infamous terrorist organisation namely ISIS and a story on illegal operation of such a terror outfit is absolutely unlikely to ignite umbrage of the Muslim Community of West Bengal since there is no reason to presume that the Bengali Muslims are sympathizers of ISIS and are against the interest of the Nation," the plea states challenging the order of the state government issues on May 8 to avoid branch of peace in the state.
The PIL plea also challenges the arbitrary decision of the State Government as it argues that the ban on the film will essentially result in a huge loss in revenue collection which in turn will affect the welfare programs and schemes of the Government, especially, in the backdrop wherein the State coffer has been almost in a famished state and the Government is embroiled with disgruntlement of its employees regarding the DA issue.
Against this backdrop, the PIL plea seeks to set aside the State government's ban order. The PIL plea also refers to the Kerala High Court's May 5 order wherein it refused to stay the release of the film 'The Kerala Story' observing that the film only says it is 'inspired by true events' and that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has certified the film for public viewing.
It may be noted that on May 12, the Supreme Court issued notice to the States of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu on a writ petition filed by the makers of the controversial film 'The Kerala Story' challenging the decision of the West Bengal Government to ban the movie.
"The film is released in the rest of the country. West Bengal is not different from other parts of the Country. If it can run on other parts of the country, why should the State of West Bengal ban the film? If the public does not think that the film is worth seeing, they will not see it. It is running in other parts of the country which have similar demographic profile as West Bengal. Why should you not allow a film to run?," remarked the Chief Justice on India during the course of the hearing in the case.