June 19, 2024

#TheKeralaStory – West Bengal is not different from other parts of the Country?

“The film is released in the rest of the country. West Bengal is not different from other parts of the Country. If it can run on other parts of the country, why should the State of West Bengal ban the film? If the public does not think that the film is worth seeing, they will not see it. It is running in other parts of the country which have similar demographic profile as West Bengal. Why should you not allow a film to run?”. – CJI

Kolkata. The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the States of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu on a writ petition filed by the makers of the film ‘The Kerala Story’ challenging the decision of the West Bengal Government to ban the movie. The makers also alleged that the movie was facing a ‘shadow’ ban in Tamil Nadu and sought protection for screening the film in the southern state.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha posted the matter to next Wednesday.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the producer of the film Sunshine Productions, said that on the date of the release of the movie, the Chief Minister of West Bengal made a statement against it, saying that it is against a community and the exhibition can cause law and order problems. The State banned the film after it ran for three days without any problems. Salve further said that in Tamil Nadu, the film is facing a “de facto ban”, as the exhibitors have withdrawn the movie after threats.

Senior Advocate Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the State of West Bengal, said that in all other matters relating to the same film, the Supreme Court had asked the parties to move the High Court, and the producer should also be asked to move the approach the High Court to maintain the discipline. Singhvi also said that there are intelligence reports regarding threats of law & order problems.

This submission prompted a comment from CJI –

“The film is released in the rest of the country. West Bengal is not different from other parts of the Country. If it can run on other parts of the country, why should the State of West Bengal ban the film? If the public does not think that the film is worth seeing, they will not see it. It is running in other parts of the country which have similar demographic profile as West Bengal. Why should you not allow a film to run?”.

Singhvi said that the State has power under Section 6 of the West Bengal Cinemas (Regulation) Act 1954 and opposed the grant of stay.

CJI however said that the Court will not pass any interim order without hearing the State.

To Advocate Amit Anand Tiwari, Additional Advocate General of Tamil Nadu, the CJI asked – “We would like to know from you, what are the specific administrative arrangements to ensure safety. The state government cannot say that we’ll look the other way while theatres are being attacked, chairs being burnt. You are duty bound to ensure security”.

The bench asked the State of Tamil Nadu to file an affidavit regarding the steps taken by it.

Courtesy – LiveLaw

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