The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to hear a petition by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, which sought a directive to the Centre and others not to allow the screening or release of the film 'The Kerala Story' in theatres, OTT platforms, and other such venues, as well as the removal of the trailer from the Internet.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud stated that the Supreme Court cannot become a "super Article 226 court" (a super high court) and hear every case brought under Article 32. Article 226 empowers high courts to issue directions or writs to government officials.
Advocate Vrinda Grover acknowledged the Muslim body's request in court and stated that the Kerala High Court would not hear the case before the film's May 5 release date. Grover stated that they are criticising the community and selling it as truth, and that there is no disclaimer that this is a work of fiction.
The Kerala High Court, according to senior attorney Harish Salve, is already involved in the case. The Chief Justice directed petitioners to the Kerala High Court, which is hearing similar cases, and stated that the high courts are staffed by experienced judges who are cognizant of local issues.
The counsel for the Muslim organisation stated that the Supreme Court can request that the high court hear the cases related to the film's distribution on May 4. The film will be released on May 5.
After hearing arguments, the Supreme Court stated that the relief requested under Article 32 can be pursued by the high court and that “we do not entertain it on this ground and we grant liberty to the petitioners to move the high court. The high court can take this up for early hearing…”
The Supreme Court rejected a petition seeking a stay of execution for the controversial film 'The Kerala Story' on Tuesday.
A bench of Justices K.M. Joseph and B.V. Nagarathna ruled that the censor board had already cleared the picture and that the petitioners should instead dispute the film's certification before an appropriate body. This bench is currently handling cases involving hate speech. The bench stated that because film exhibition is a separate process, the request for a stay on the film's distribution cannot be combined with the hate speech cases.
The fresh plea filed by Muslim body said: “The movie is clearly aimed at spreading hatred and enmity between different sections of society in India. The message the movie imparts is that non-Muslim young women are being lured into converting to Islam by their classmates and subsequently, trafficked to West Asia where they are forced to join terrorist organisations.”
The plea said, “The movie demeans the entire Muslim community and it will result in endangering the life and livelihood of the petitioners and the entire Muslim community in our country and this is a direct infringement under Articles 14 & 21 of the Constitution.”
“The movie gives the impression that apart from extremist clerics who radicalise people, ordinary Muslim youngsters, their classmates, also play an instrumental role in luring non-Muslims and radicalising them by posing as friendly and good-natured, in accordance with instructions given by extremist scholars,” said the plea.
The petition, filed by advocate Ejaz Maqbool, also sought a direction to the Central Board of Film Certification to further identify incendiary scenes and dialogues for removal or to display a disclaimer stating that the film is a work of fiction and the characters bear no resemblance to any person living or dead.
The petition, filed through advocate Ejaz Maqbool, also sought a direction to the Central Board of Film Certification to further identify incendiary scenes and dialogues for removal or to display a disclaimer stating that the film is a work of fiction and the characters bear no resemblance to any person living or dead.