‘The Kerala Story’: SC agrees to hear film makers’ plea against ban by West Bengal on May 12
10 May, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma
The Supreme Court agreed on Wednesday to hear a petition from the makers of 'The Kerala Story' challenging the West Bengal government's decision to prohibit screenings of the film.
The Supreme Court agreed on Wednesday to hear a petition from the makers of ‘The Kerala Story’ challenging the West Bengal government’s decision to prohibit screenings of the film in the state on May 12. After senior advocate, Harish Salve, who was representing the filmmakers, mentioned the urgent listing request, a bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud agreed to hear it on Friday.
“We are losing money every day and now there is another State which says it will do the same,” said Salve.
CJI said, “Ok list on Friday, serve copies on the State of West Bengal.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has ordered an immediate ban on the screening of the film in the State to avoid “any incident of hatred and violence and to maintain peace in the State”.
The filmmakers argued that the State government lacked the authority to prohibit a film that had been certified for public viewing by the Central Board of Film Certification. The state government cannot use law and order concerns to prevent the screening of the film, which would violate the fundamental rights guaranteed to them, according to the filmmakers’ plea.
They also claimed that the film is subject to a ‘shadow’ ban in Tamil Nadu and sought legal protection for screenings in the southern state.
The petition also challenged the de facto ban imposed on the film by the State of Tamil Nadu, which issued an “alert” anticipating protests in connection with the film’s release, causing theatres in the state to withdraw the film.
On Tuesday, the bench agreed to hear an appeal against the Kerala High Court’s interim order refusing to stay the film’s release on May 15. The High Court refused to halt the film’s release, stating that there was no allegation against a religion, but only against the organisation Islamic State, or ISIS.
While hearing a batch of petitions challenging the CBFC certification granted to the film, the High Court watched the trailer before refusing to stay its screenings and stated that there was nothing offensive to any particular community in it.
Previously, the Supreme Court declined to intervene in the film’s release and directed the High Court to hear the appeals.
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