NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to take up on May 12 a plea of film makers of ‘The Kerala Story’ challenging the decision of the West Bengal government to ban screening of the movie in the State.
Senior advocate Harish Salve on behalf of the film makers mentioned the plea for urgent listing before a bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha.
“We are losing money every day and now there is another State which says it will do the same,” Salve.
The CJI said, “Ok, list on Friday, serve copies on the State of West Bengal.”
On May 8, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee 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 producers of the movie, Sunshine Pictures and Vipul Shah contended that the State government has no power to ban a movie which has been certified for public viewing by the Central Board of Film Certification.
They contended the state government cannot cite law and order issues to stop the screening of the movie, which will result in the violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed to them.
They also submitted that the movie is facing a 'shadow' ban in Tamil Nadu in view of decision not to screen the film. They sought protection for screening the film in the southern State, as the authorities concerned issued an “alert” anticipating protests in connection with the release due to which theatres in the State withdrew the film.
On Tuesday, the bench agreed to list on May 15 an appeal against the interim order of the Kerala High Court refusing to stay the release of the film, saying there was nothing against Islam or Muslims in it.
The High Court had declined to stop the release of the film while observing that there was no allegation against a religion, but only against the organisation Islamic State or ISIS.
‘The Kerala Story’, starring Adah Sharma in lead role, was released in cinemas on May 5. A number of BJP-ruled States including Uttar Pradesh decided to make the film tax free.