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Kerala HC Directs To Exhibit The Film 'S DURGA’ In IFFI [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
21 Nov 2017 8:52 AM GMT
Kerala HC Directs To Exhibit The Film S DURGA’ In IFFI [Read Judgment]
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The Kerala High Court has directed the organizers of International Film Festival of India to include and exhibit the film ‘ S Durga’, directed by Sanal Kumar Sashidharan in the Indian Panorama section of the Festival. Justice K. Vinod Chandran, the learned Single Judge who considered the matter, overruled the objections raised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and held that...

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The Kerala High Court has directed the organizers of International Film Festival of India to include and exhibit the film ‘ S Durga’, directed by Sanal Kumar Sashidharan in the Indian Panorama section of the Festival. Justice K. Vinod Chandran, the learned Single Judge who considered the matter, overruled the objections raised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and held that the CBFC certified version of the film was entitled to be screened.

Last week Sanal Kumar Sashidharan had petitioned the High Court aggrieved by the exclusion of the film from  Indian Panorama. The film was selected by the Panorama Jury; however, the Ministry vetoed the decision of jury and excluded the film.

The Ministry of I&B attempted to justify the exclusion by stating before the Court that the film’s original title ‘Sexy Durga’ was objectionable and offensive to religious sentiments. It was further contended by the Ministry that the jury had selected the uncensored version of the film. But the Court noted  that the film had got ‘U/A’ certificate from the CBFC, and therefore the objection of the Ministry was found to be untenable. The Court also noted that there was no substantial variance in the creative content of the movie after CBFC certification, but for the change in title as ‘S Durga’ and beeping of some expletives in dialogues. It was further held that the decision of jury was final and binding and the Ministry had no power to overrule jury selection.

According to Sanal Kumar Sashidharan, the movie had nothing to do with Goddess Durga or any religious icons, and the film was addressing misogyny in society by highlighting the paradoxical patriarchal tendency to deify and objectify women at the same time.

The Ministry also had challenged the maintainability of the writ petition in Kerala High Court contending that no part of cause of action had arisen in Kerala. But this objection was found to be unsustainable on the ground that the certification of movie by CBFC was carried out in Kerala, by the Regional Office at Thiruvananthapuram. Certification being one of the material fact relied upon by the petitioner to contend that the movie has no objectionable content, the place where the same was done assumes relevance, and hence Kerala High Court was found to have territorial jurisdiction to deal with the matter.

IFFI was inaugurated in Goa yesterday, and will go on till 28th November. An out of schedule special screening will have to be arranged for “S Durga” on any of the festival days, in the light of the judgment. The judgment will be a major boost to campaigners for artistic freedom who fight the attempts of Government to put curbs on creative expressions.


Advocate Manu Sebastian appeared for the petitioner.

Read the Judgment Here

 
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