"Why should West Bengal Ban The Kerala Story?": Supreme Court asks in plea challenging ban by makers

Read Time: 05 minutes

The Supreme Court on Friday observed that there was no reason for state of West Bengal to ban the film "The Kerala Story" when it was successfully running throughout India.

A bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud said that it was for the audience to decide what they should do with a movie, instead of mandating bans. The Court was hearing a plea by the makers of the film seeking a challenge to the ban on the filming of the movie which has created an outrage amongst certain sections.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve appeared for the makers of the film and said, "5th of May this movie is released. The CM says this portrays a particular committee in a bad light and would lead to violence. Then the ban order is passed. So many of these orders are set aside by your lordships. There are two states, one is West Bengal, where CM Mamata Banerjee has banned, the other is Tamil Nadu".

State of Tamil Nadu, however stated that the film has not been banned in the state but the government has pre-empted the possibility of a law and order issue.

At this juncture, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi informed court that the film has been banned in West Bengal after intelligence reports were received about the possibility of a law and order situation.

"We will not grant them a stay, without hearing you Mr. Singhvi," said the CJI.

As a result, the court put up the case for further hearing on May 17.

Supreme Court on last Thursday had refused to stay the release of the movie, while a bench of CJI DY Chandrachud, Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala were of the view that the success of the movie should be determined at the box office.  

The film, produced by Sunshine Pictures Private Ltd and directed by Sudipto Sen, was released 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.

Earlier, a bench of Justices K M Joseph and B V Nagarathna had also 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.