New Delhi: The West Bengal government has told the Supreme Court that the film ‘The Kerala Story’ is based on manipulated facts and contains hate speech that may hurt communal sentiments and cause disharmony between the communities which can lead to order issues in the State. Filing its affidavit before the apex court, the Mamata Banerjee government said that the film can cause communal disharmony and a law and order situation, as has been gauged from various intelligence inputs. Defending its decision to ban the movie, the West Bengal government said the screening of the movie is likely to cause clashes among extremist groups.
The affidavit stated, “The said movie is based on manipulated facts and contains hate speech in multiple scenes that may hurt communal sentiments and cause disharmony between the communities which will eventually lead to a law and order situation, as has been gauged from various Intelligence inputs .” The West Bengal government said that there are intelligence inputs relating to the likelihood of causing a breach of peace due to the public exhibition of the film.
“It shall further not be out of place to mention, that all the States in India are varied in their population and their beliefs, and the parameters cannot by any stretch of imagination be identical for two states, under identical situations. The onus to maintain law and order, and peace in the State, lies with the government, and the restrictions imposed, if any by the State government, are best considered and evaluated by the respective High Courts, who are well-versed with the pulse of the region, and understand the intent behind such executive actions,” it added.
Also Read: ‘The Kerala Story’: Theaters Stop Screening Due To Poor Audience Response, Says Tamil Nadu Govt To SC
The state has taken a decision to ban the movie to avoid any incident of hatred and violence, it added. The affidavit further stated that the prohibition of an exhibition of the movie is a policy decision of the government of West Bengal which has been passed to maintain law and order. The affidavit of the government came on a plea filed by the filmmakers of the movie challenging the ban on the film by the State. Seeking dismissal of the plea, the government said petitioners cannot claim the financial loss as a matter of fundamental right.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has ordered an immediate ban on the screening of the film in the State to avoid “any incident of hatred and violence and to maintain peace in the State”. Earlier, the apex court questioned the West Bengal government over banning the film saying the movie is running in different parts of the country with similar demographic profiles.
Also Read: ‘The Kerala Story’ Makers To Take Ahead An Advocacy For Victim Girls, Important Announcement Soon
“The movie is being released all over the country why the West Bengal government should not allow it to run?” a bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha said. It said that if the public does not think that the film is not worth seeing, they will not see it and questioned West Bengal about why it should not allow a film to run.
The makers contended that the State government has no power to ban a movie which has been certified for public viewing by the Central Board of Film Certification. The state government cannot cite law and order issues to stop the screening of the movie, which would result in the violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed to them, the plea of filmmakers said.
The film depicts how thousands of young women were allegedly brainwashed into joining the Islamic State (IS) and heading off to countries like Syria and Afghanistan. ‘The Kerala Story’, starring Adah Sharma, was released in cinemas on May 5.