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SC Rejects Plea To Stop Nanak Shah Fakir Release: What Power Censor Board Has

The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) pleaded urgently before the Supreme Court to stop the release of the movie Nanak Shah Fakir. The Supreme Court rejected the plea saying that it will hear it on Monday. The SGPC is agitated that the censor board has permitted the release of the movie where one plays the role of Sikh Guru and his family, which is not acceptable by their organization. Let us check what the laws related to cinematography in India say about such situation.

The urgent plea seeking to stop the scheduled release of the movie ‘Nanak Shah Fakir’ has been rejected by the Supreme Court. Nanak Shah Fakir is the movie based on Guru Nanak’s life and teachings. The Court said that it will hear the plea after the release, on Monday.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) referred to a 2003 resolution that as the statutory religious body, it is genuine religious grievances against any person who is playing the role of a Sikh Guru or his relative. They argued that in last 550 years none has depicted the role of the 10 Sikh Gurus or any of their family members and the Panj Pyaras, thus it should be restrained from releasing.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwikar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud told that the Censor Board does not need the permission for releasing a film from SGPC, a religious body, and no one can object the release of the movie without taking recourse to lawful means.

What the law in India says about films on religious matters:

  • Art. 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India provides for the freedom of speech and expression which includes the freedom to express in motion films. Anyways, this freedom is not an absolute freedom, if the expression is against the public policy, foreign relations, sovereignty and integrity of the state, public order, decency and morality, or in relation to contemp of court, defamation etc., then such expression shall not be allowed in law.
  • The Cinematograph (Certification) Rules 1983 says that under sec.11 that it specifically imposes a duty on the Board to assess public reaction to films, which can be by holding symposia or seminars of film critics, film writers, community leaders and persons engaged in the film industry and also by undertaking local or national survey to study the impact of the film on the mind of the viewers.
  • Sec. 4 of the Cinematograph Act 1952 says that CBFC can instruct an applicant to carry out excision or modification as it finds necessary.
  • CBFC is an independent organization, it can not be influenced by any political and religious organization. It takes under consideration only the reaction of the people and sentiment of the people which can cause a harm to the peace in the society or create harmfully negative impact on public’s mind. 

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Reviewed by:
Rashmita Das
Published on 12-Apr-18

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