The Kerala High Court on Saturday refused to stay the film 'The Kerala Story', already released on May 5, saying there was nothing against offensive against Islam or Muslims in it.
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 declined any relief after hearing 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 noted in its order.
After hearing the counsel, the bench 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.
"This is fiction. 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 further said.
One of the counsel claimed that the film, as a whole, will have to be tested in the light of the hate speech evolved by the Supreme court in recent decisions.
"There could be hate speech in the guise of a film or work of art as well.That makes the instant case a special one," he claimed.
The counsel also contended the teaser of the film was admittedly not certified.
"It is offensive and contains a false statement. It has no backing of certification board either. Therefore, it is liable to face action. The court can watch the film as a whole and reach an appropriate conclusion," he submitted.
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 the producer 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 said.
For the third time in row, the Supreme Court had Thursday 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," a bench led by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud had said.