‘Has Gone Through Certification’, SC on Plea Against Release of ‘The Kerala Story’

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The apex court bench observed that the censor board has already cleared the movie and the petitioners should rather challenge the film's certification before an appropriate authority.

NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to immediately hear a plea seeking a stay on the release of the controversial movie ‘The Kerala Story’.

A bench comprising Justices K.M. Joseph and B.V. Nagarathna observed that the censor board has already cleared the movie and the petitioners should rather challenge the film’s certification before an appropriate authority. This bench is currently hearing matters in connection with hate speeches. The bench said that the exhibition of films entails a different process, therefore the plea seeking a stay on the release of the movie cannot be clubbed with the hate speech matters.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate Nizam Pasha urged the bench to hear their plea saying that the movie will release on Friday.

During the hearing, the bench said, “This has gone through certification. We cannot make it a part of the hate speech case”.

Pasha, on his part, submitted that the YouTube trailer of the movie already had 16 million views so far and this is the worst instance of hate speech and this is audio-visual propaganda.

The bench told the counsel, “You should move the high court or any other appropriate forum, but this cannot be here.”

Pasha pressed that they do not have time for any other remedy. However, the bench declined to entertain the plea against the movie.

Emphasizing that it cannot tag the plea with hate speech case, the bench orally observed that there is a difference between this and “other matters you brought to our notice. Why don’t you move the concerned high court first?”

Sibal urged the bench to look at the transcript of the YouTube trailer during the lunch recess and then take a call and added that they will also file a petition by Wednesday.

Declining to entertain the plea, the bench said, “This has gone through a process of certification. Unless you challenge the certification, we can’t do anything…you should go to the jurisdictional high court. You cannot start everything here at the Supreme Court…”

The bench told Sibal, “This may not be the forum where you will get your relief.”

The film starring Adah Sharma, slated to release on May 5 created a major controversy when it claimed that 32,000 women have left the state.

As soon as the teaser of the film was released, the ruling CPI(M)-led Left and the UDF demanded that the film should not be screened.

The Kerala State Committee of Muslim Youth League announced a reward of Rs 1 crore for the individual who proves the “allegations” levelled in the movie. A right-wing activist and founder of the Hindu Seva Kendra Pratheesh Viswanath also offered Rs 10 crore to prove the opposite — that no one from Kerala has gone to Syria to join IS.

The film is directed by Sudipto Sen. It traces the journey of four female college students in Kerala who become part of Islamic State.

The film also stars Yogita Bihani, Siddhi Idnani, and Sonia Balani. It is produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah. — IANS

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