WB Govt provides reason to SC citing its decision to ban film ‘ The Kerala Story’

WB Govt provides reason to SC citing its decision to ban film ' The Kerala Story'
WB Govt provides reason to SC citing its decision to ban film ' The Kerala Story'
WB Govt provides reason to SC citing its decision to ban film ‘ The Kerala Story’

The West Bengal government has provides reason to the Supreme Court citing its decision to ban the film ‘The Kerala Story’. According to the government, the movie is filled with distorted facts and includes hate speech that has the potential to offend religious sentiments and create discord among communities.

In its affidavit submitted to the top court, the Mamata Banerjee-led government expressed concerns about the possibility of the film causing communal disharmony and disrupting law and order in the state. The government cited intelligence reports that indicated the likelihood of clashes between extremist groups if the movie were to be screened.

The affidavit emphasized, “The film in question relies on manipulated facts and features multiple scenes containing hate speech, which can harm communal harmony and ultimately lead to a situation where law and order is compromised, as indicated by various intelligence inputs.” The West Bengal government also highlighted the intelligence inputs that warned of potential disturbances and public unrest resulting from the public exhibition of the film.

The affidavit further explained that each state in India has its unique population and beliefs, and it would be unreasonable to expect identical parameters to apply in similar situations. The responsibility to uphold law, order, and peace lies with the respective state governments. Any restrictions imposed by the state government should be best assessed and evaluated by the High Courts, which possess a deep understanding of the local sentiments and the intentions behind such executive actions.

The state government’s decision to ban the movie was taken to prevent any incidents of hatred and violence, as stated in the affidavit. It emphasized that the prohibition on screening the film is a policy decision made by the West Bengal government to maintain law and order. The government’s affidavit was submitted in response to a plea filed by the filmmakers challenging the ban. The government argued for the dismissal of the plea, asserting that the petitioners cannot claim financial losses as a matter of fundamental right.

To ensure the prevention of “any incident of hatred and violence and to maintain peace in the State,” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee promptly ordered a ban on the film’s screening in the state. The Supreme Court had previously questioned the West Bengal government’s decision to ban the film, noting that it was being shown in other parts of the country with similar demographic profiles.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha raised a question regarding the West Bengal government’s decision to disallow the movie from running, considering that it is being released across the country. The bench pointed out that if the public does not find the film worth watching, they simply won’t go see it, leading to the query of why the West Bengal government should intervene in its running.

The filmmakers argued that the state government does not possess the authority to ban a movie that has already received certification for public exhibition from the Central Board of Film Certification. They further asserted that the state government cannot justify halting the film’s screening on grounds of law and order, as this would infringe upon the fundamental rights guaranteed to them.

‘The Kerala Story’ portrays the alleged indoctrination of numerous young women into joining extremist groups like the Islamic State (IS) and traveling to countries such as Syria and Afghanistan. The film, featuring Adah Sharma, was released in theaters on May 5.

Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, film trade analyst Taran Adarsh shared a poster of the film. He wrote, “#TheKeralaStory is not slowing down soon… Hits double digits on [second] Mon, HIGHER than [first] Mon – ₹ 10.03 cr… All set to cross ₹ 150 cr today [second Tue]… [Week 2] Fri 12.35 cr, Sat 19.50 cr, Sun 23.75 cr, Mon 10.30 cr. Total: ₹ 147.04 cr. #India biz. #Boxoffice.”

About ‘The Kerala Story’
The Kerala Story talks about three women from Kerala who are allegedly forcefully converted and made to join the terrorist outfit ISIS. Backed by Vipul Amrutlal Shah, the film stars Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, Siddhi Idnani, and Sonia Balani in lead roles. The film was released all across India on May 5.

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