New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday reiterated that freedom of expression of an author of a film cannot be curtailed or crippled by a private body on a perception that there will be some kind of law and order problem. The court allowed the release of Hindi film Nanak Shah Fakir across the country and asked the authorities to ensure that no disturbance is caused in its exhibition.
A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Kanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud passed this order on a writ petition filed by the film producer Harinder Singh Sikka challenging the decision of SGPC not to allow the release of the film on April 13.
However, the film will not be released in Punjab as the makers of the film, in their petition before the Supreme Court, clearly stated that “looking at the sensitivity of the issue and the public sentiment involved”, they had decided “not to release the film in the state of Punjab for the time being”.
Main Sikh bodies, including SGPC and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, had been objecting to the movie for allegedly portraying the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev in human form and had also appealed to Akal Takht Giani Gurbachan Singh to issue directions to impose a ban on its screening. SGPC had earlier issued NOC to Sikka but later withdrew it despite the launch of music of the film.
The Bench agreed with senior counsel R.S. Suri’s submission that once the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has issued the Certificate with certain modifications to be done by the producer and the examining committee after due examination, has cleared the film for unrestricted exhibition, there cannot be any kind of impediment for the release.
The Bench said it is well settled that once the CBFC grants certificate, there cannot be any kind of obstruction for exhibition of the film.