Goddess Kaali poster: SC protects filmmaker Leena Manimekalai from coercive steps

20 January, 2023 | Pragati Singh

kaliposter National

The Supreme Court on Friday awarded filmmaker Leena Manimekalai temporary protection from any coercive action in numerous FIRs filed against her over the poster of her documentary film depicting go...

The Supreme Court on Friday awarded filmmaker Leena Manimekalai temporary protection from any coercive action in numerous FIRs filed against her over the poster of her documentary film depicting goddess ‘Kaali’ smoking a cigarette.

A panel of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha issued a notice to the states and instructed that no coercive actions be taken against the filmmaker, either on the basis of FIRs already registered or FIRs that may be made in reference to the ‘Kaali’ poster controversy.

The apex court took into note that at this stage, the lodging of FIRs in multiple states may cause serious prejudice to the filmmaker and issued notice to the states on a plea for consolidation of all FIRs in one place.

“Issue notice to the respondents. List on February 17, 2023. No coercive steps shall be taken against the petitioner either on the basis of FIRs or pursuant to any FIR which may have been lodged or may be lodged in relation to the same matter,” the apex court stated in its order.

Manimekalai has petitioned the Supreme Court for protection and the dismissal of many FIRs lodged against her in various states.

A poster for the documentary portrays the Hindu deity ‘Kaali’ smoking a cigarette.
The appeal also asked for the consolidation of all FIRs filed against her in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttarakhand in connection with the poster.

The director has also requested that the criminal proceedings stemming from these FIRs be stayed.

Manimekalai has stated that her goal as a creative filmmaker was not to upset anyone’s religious sentiments, but rather to portray the picture of a radically inclusive goddess.

She also claimed that she got open threats against her, her team, and her family after tweeting a trailer for her film, Kaali.

Manimekalai has filed appeals in the district courts of Lucknow’s Hazratganj, Ratlam, Bhopal, and Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Haridwar in Uttarakhand, and Delhi.