The Kerala Story: Supreme Court refuses to entertain Muslim outfit's plea seeking stay on release of film

Read Time: 08 minutes


The petitioner wanted that a disclaimer be introduced in the title of the film to the effect that it is a work of fiction, however, the film production house refused to accede to the request

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain the plea by Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind seeking a direction to the Centre and others not to allow the screening or release of the movie ‘The Kerala Story’ at theatres, OTT (Over The Top) platforms and other such avenues for it is "demeaning the entire Muslim community and is likely to cause hatred and enmity between different sections of society in India".

A bench of CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha stated that the Supreme Court is not the right forum for the prayer sought under Article 32, while disposing off the plea.

The counsel appearing for Jamiat, Ms. Vrinda Grover told Court that a disclaimer should be added in the title of film to suggest that it is a work of fiction. However, Senior Lawyer Harish Salve appearing for the production house, Sunshine Pictures Pvt. Ltd did not agree to the proposition.

The film, produced by Sunshine Pictures Private Ltd and directed by Sudipto Sen, is slated for release on Friday, May 05, 2023 in Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu across the country. 

The movie made on girls who fell victims of 'Love Jihad' and landed in Syria and Afghanistan has caused outrage among some sections of the society.

The Muslim organisation contended the movie will result in endangering the life and livelihood of the petitioners and the entire Muslim community in our country.

"This is a direct infringement under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India. The movie demeans the entire Muslim community, particularly Muslim youth and it will result in endangering the life and livelihood of the entire Muslim community in our country and this is a direct infringement under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution," a writ petition filed by the outfit claimed.

The plea filed by advocate Ejaz Maqbool alternatively sought a direction to the Central Board of Film Certification to further identify incendiary scenes and dialogues for removal or show a disclaimer stating that it is a work of fiction and the characters in the movie bear no resemblance to any person living or dead.

The petitioner claimed the trailer of the movie released on April 26 showed Hindu and Christian girls in Kerala were being converted to Islam by extremist clerics and trafficked to Afghanistan to ISIS while outwardly friendly Muslim youths abet it by luring them. 

The Central Board of Film Certification gave the film an ‘A’ certificate and deleted 10 scenes. 

"It is falsely stated that 32,000 girls have left Kerala for West Asia to join ISIS because the Union Home Ministry, police sources and experts agree that the number of Indians who left to join ISIS is between 100 and 200," it pointed out.

Maintaining that the movie is based on entirely false propositions, the petitioner claimed the movie gives the impression that the entire Muslim community, particularly Muslim classmates are working in tandem with extremist clerics by luring people to first embrace Islam and then join terrorist organizations like ISIS. 

"It goes without saying that tarring the entire community with the same brush is in teeth of the foundational values of fraternity and equality enshrined in the Constitution of India," it contended.

Earlier on Tuesday, a bench of Justices K M Joseph and B V Nagarathna declined to entertain an interlocutory application argued by senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate M Nizamuddin Pasha in a pending PIL by Qurban Ali, contending the movie was a part of hate speech as the top court noted the film has already been cleared by the Censor board.

The Kerala High Court has also refused to entertain a plea seeking a stay on its release recently.

Case Title: Jamiat Ulama I Hind Vs. UOI