28 Aug 2023 1:33 PM GMT
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a special leave petition filed by Malayalam Cine Director Lijeesh M.J against the order of a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court dismissing his plea seeking to set aside the declaration of Kerala State Awards For Malayalam Films & Writings On Cinema 2022. The Division Bench had upheld the order of dismissal by a single bench of the High Court that...
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a special leave petition filed by Malayalam Cine Director Lijeesh M.J against the order of a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court dismissing his plea seeking to set aside the declaration of Kerala State Awards For Malayalam Films & Writings On Cinema 2022. The Division Bench had upheld the order of dismissal by a single bench of the High Court that had found the plea to be 'frivolous'.
"No case to interfere with the impugned order dated 16.08.2023, passed by the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam, is made out" a division bench of Justice M M Sundresh and Justice J B Pardiwala recorded while dismissing the appeal.
The Director of the Malayalam Movie, 'Aakaashathinu Thaazhe', Lijeesh, had filed the plea alleging that the declaration of the Awards was vitiated on account of bias and nepotism by Ranjith, the Chairman of the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy.
The plea before the Apex Court stated that the High court wrongly dismissed the Appeal without considering the relevant legal provisions and facts of the case.
The plea also stated that the High Court ought to have admitted the specific allegations against the Chairman of the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, Ranjith, who had not specifically denied the allegations against him by filing a counter affidavit despite entering appearance and despite being given several opportunities to do so.
The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice A.J. Desai and Justice V.G. Arun , while considering the appeal had observed the same to be devoid of merit and that the Single Judge had not committed any error in dismissing the plea.
The Division Bench had noted that the film by the Director had not even been suggested by the preliminary jury, and that there was no question of even considering the same.
"Apart from these aspects, with regard to allegations of the appellant about canvassing, no material has been placed before the Single Judge and therefore, we are of the opinion that the Single Judge has committed no error in rejecting the petition," the Division Bench had observed.
The High Court had further noted that neither had the film's producer come forth raising similar claims as the appellant-director, nor had any affidavit in support of the appellant been filed by the members of the main jury.
Dismissing the plea as 'frivolous', the Single Judge Bench of Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan had, on August 11, 2023, observed that the petitioner lacked evidence to prove the allegations of nepotism and bias, and added that the petition need not be entertained based on the hearsay evidence stated by the petitioner.
"...the allegation of bias and nepotism attributed against the 3rd respondent who is the Chairman of the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy are too vague and not specific. No supporting evidence is produced by the petitioner. In such circumstances, this Court is of the opinion that this writ petition need not be entertained. This is a writ petition filed based on hearsay evidence without any supporting material," the Single Judge had stated while dismissing the plea.
The petitioner's case was that following the declaration of the Awards on July 21, 2023, the Director of another Malayalam Movie, 'Pathonpatham Nottaandu', namely Vinayan, had raised an allegation that he was in possession of evidence which includes voice recordings of Jury Members of the State Awards indicating that the Chairman had illegally intervened in the decision-making of the Award declaration, thereby causing bias and nepotism. He thus claimed that he was otherwise entitled to positions of excellence in the State Awards, had it not been for the alleged bias, and sought the declaration of the Awards to be set aside.
The SLP was moved through Adv. Prabhu K N and Adv. Rebin Vincent Gralan.
Case Title: Lijesh M.J @ Lijeesh Mullezhath V. State of Kerala Represented by Director, Directorate of Culture & others, SLP (C) No. 18559/2023
Click here to read/download order