NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to hear on May 15 a plea against the Kerala High Court's refusal to stay the film 'The Kerala Story', made on subject of 'Love Jihad' and entrapment of vulnerable Hindu and Christian girls to work for international terrorist organisation ISIS.
A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha fixed the matter for consideration on Monday on a plea for urgent hearing made by senior advocate Kapil Sibal on behalf of the petitioners.
The plea questioned the validity of the High Court's order of May 5 declining any relief, saying there was nothing against offensive against Islam or Muslims in the film.
After watching the trailer of the movie, the court said it did not find "anything offensive to any particular community as a whole".
A bench of Justices N Nagaresh and Sophy Thomas had then heard a batch of petitions seeking to cancel the certificate of the film and staying its release.
"After going through the trailers of the movie, we find it does not contain anything offensive to any particular community as a whole. None of the petitioners have watched the movie," the court had noted in its order.
After hearing the counsel, the bench also asked the counsel, "What is against Islam? There is no allegation against the religion. The allegation is against ISIS."
The bench also pointed out there are umpteen number of movies where Hindu sanyasis are depicted as smugglers or rapists.
"Nothing happens, no one protests. Many such Hindi and Malayalam films are there," the bench said.
"Merely because some religious head is shown in bad light is not a reason to ban the movie. This has been happening in Hindi and Malayalam movies for a long time," the bench had further said.
Senior Advocate Ravi Kadam, appearing for the producer of the movie, said they have put a disclaimer that this is a work of fiction, inspired by true stories.
He also said that the trailer of the movie does not require CBFC certification.
"In view of the disclaimer also, we are not inclined to pass an interim order restraining the respondents from exhibiting the film as such. In view of the above and taking into consideration the statement made by the producer that he does not intend to retain the offending teaser in their social media handles, no further orders are necessary in this petition at this stage," the court had said.
The Supreme Court had earlier as many as three times rejected a plea to stop the release of the film, saying that it must also be considered that a filmmaker invests a lot of money and time in making a film and actors also put in a lot of work.
"We must be very careful in staying any film. Let the market decide if it is not up to the mark," the CJI-led bench had said.
The film, produced by Sunshine Pictures Private Ltd and directed by Sudipto Sen, was released on Friday, May 05, 2023 across the country. The West Bengal, however, had on May 8 banned it.