The Supreme Court decided on Wednesday to hear a petition from the creators of ‘The Kerala Story’ contesting the West Bengal government’s decision to prohibit screenings of the film in the state on May 12.
After senior attorney Harish Salve, who was representing the filmmakers, made the urgent listing request, a bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud consented to hear it on Friday.
“We’re losing money every day, and now another state has said it will do the same,” Salve added.
“OK list on Friday, issue copies on the State of West Bengal,” the CJI stated.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has ordered that the film not be screened in the state immediately in order to avoid “any incident of hatred and violence and preserve peace in the state.”
The filmmakers argued that the State government lacked the authority to prohibit a film that has been authorized for public exhibition by the Central Board of Film Certification.
The state government cannot use law and order concerns to prevent the exhibition of the film, which would violate the fundamental rights given to them, according to the filmmakers’ request.
They also claimed that the film was banned in Tamil Nadu and wanted legal protection for screenings in the southern state.
The petition also challenged the de facto ban put on the film by the State of Tamil Nadu, which issued an “alert” anticipating demonstrations in conjunction with the film’s distribution, causing cinemas in the state to withdraw the picture.
On Tuesday, the bench consented to hear an appeal against the Kerala High Court’s interim ruling refusing to halt the film’s release on May 15.
The High Court refused to halt the film’s publication, stating that there was no complaint against a religion, but solely against the organization Islamic State, or ISIS.
While hearing a batch of petitions challenging the CBFC certification given to the film, the High Court watched the trailer before refusing to stop its screenings and stated that there was nothing derogatory to any particular community in it.
Previously, the Supreme Court rejected to intervene in the film’s distribution and directed the High Court to hear the appeals.
“Think about the labor of actors and producers who put in a lot of work,” the Supreme Court had then observed. A filmmaker invests a significant amount of money and effort in producing a film. Leave everything to the market; the market will determine whether it is inadequate.”
Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind has already petitioned the Supreme Court for a stay on the film’s distribution in cinemas and on OTT platforms, claiming that it was likely to incite animosity and hostility among various parts of Indian society.
According to the petition, the video demeans the whole Muslim community and will imperil the lives and livelihoods of the entire Muslim community.
In addition to requesting that the film not be released, the petition also requested that its trailer be pulled off the internet.
Alternatively, it requested that the film ‘The Kerala Story’ be published with a disclaimer saying that it is a work of fiction and that the characters in the film show no similarity to any living or deceased person.
Another petition in the Supreme Court requested a stay of execution because the video purportedly promotes hate speech.
The film portrays thousands of young women purportedly misled into joining the Islamic State (IS) and fleeing to places such as Syria and Afghanistan.
On May 5, the film ‘The Kerala Story,’ starring Adah Sharma, had been released in theatres.