Hinduism is a democratic religion and a way of life, the Calcutta High Court remarked while dismissing a plea challenging the release of a Bengali movie by the name of "Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti".
One Subhadep Adhikari had approached the High Court contending that his sentiment has been hurt due to the usage of the expression 'Brahma', who is an important part of the Hindu pantheon, with the expression 'Gopon Kommoti', which, roughly translated, means 'secret act'. It was contended that the release of the movie shall hurt the Hindu religious sentiment, bringing the said movie within the fold of Sections 295A and 298 of the Indian Penal Code.
Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya, refusing to accept this contention said that merely the use of the name of Brahma with an expression in a hilarious manner cannot lead to such a result that the religious sentiment of anybody can be hurt. The judge said:
"This court fails to understand what could be so filthy about name of the said deity being associated any act which is prohibited or secret. As taken on face value, the name of the movie in question does not hurt the religious sentiment, merely because an expression has been used, apparently in a hilarious way, with the name of the said Hindu deity. As it is, Hinduism is a way of life and is wide enough even to accommodate atheists, agnostics as well as all shades of religious and spiritual beliefs."
The court added that the gag orders of the sort as prayed for would be a complete antithesis of the liberal principles of a democracy and a democratic religion like Hinduism. It said:
In the event, the Hindu religion was so fragile and wounded so easily, it would not have survived over the ages through various onslaughts, as borne out by history. As such, it appears that the petitioner has approached this court on a completely mistaken notion of the concept of Hinduism while stating that the name of the movie, used apparently in a hilarious way, would hurt his sentiment as a Hindu. If such sentiment is hurt, the petitioner ought to mend his own sentiments and have proper lessons regarding his religion instead of moving courts to harass film-makers unnecessarily. Moreover, although there is freedom to practice, preach and profess any religion guaranteed under the Constitution, the right to free speech and expression is also enshrined in the Constitution itself. As such, there has to be a balance between the said fundamental rights. Gag orders of the sort as prayed for would be a complete antithesis of the liberal principles of a democracy and a democratic religion like Hinduism.
The bench imposed a token cost of Rs. 1 on the petitioner observing that such attempts to move the court at the drop of a hat, just to ventilate one's vengeance on frivolous issues, ought to be deprecated.
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