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'The Kerala Story': SC agrees to hear film makers' plea against ban by West Bengal on May 12

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to list for hearing on May 12 plea of makers of the 'The Kerala Story' challenging the decision of the West Bengal government to ban the screening of the movie in the State.
After senior advocate, Harish Salve, appearing for film-makers, mentioned the plea for urgent listing, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud agreed to hear it on Friday. "We are losing money every day and now there is another State which says it will do the same," said Salve.
CJI said, "Ok list on Friday, serve copies on the State of West Bengal."
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".
The makers contended that the State government has no power to ban a movie that has been certified for public viewing by the Central Board of Film Certification.
State government cannot cite law and order issues to stop the screening of the movie, which will result in the violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed to them, the plea of filmmakers said.
They also alleged that the movie is facing a 'shadow' ban in Tamil Nadu and sought protection for screening the film in the southern State.
The plea also challenged the de facto ban imposed on the movie by the State of Tamil Nadu by issuing an "alert" anticipating protests in connection with the release of the film due to which theatres in the State withdrew the film.
On Tuesday, the bench agreed to list on May 15 an appeal against the interim order of the Kerala High Court refusing to stay the release of the film.
The High Court had declined to stop the release of the film while observing that there was no allegation against a religion, but only against the organisation Islamic State or ISIS.
The High Court watched the trailer of the film before refusing to stay its screenings and said that there was nothing offensive to any particular community in it while hearing a batch of pleas challenging the CBFC certification granted to the film.
Earlier, the Supreme Court declined to interfere with the release of the movie and asked the High Court to decide the pleas.
The apex court had then said, "Think about the labour of actors, producers who put in a lot of work. A filmmaker invests a lot of money and time in making the film. Leave it to the market, the market will decide if it is not up to the mark."
Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind had earlier approached the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the release of the movie in theatres and OTT platforms saying the movie was likely to cause hatred and enmity between different sections of society in India.
The plea said the film demeans the entire Muslim community and it will result in endangering the life and livelihood of the entire Muslim community.
Seeking direction to not allow the release of the movie, the plea had also sought direction that its trailer be removed from the internet.
Alternatively, it sought direction that the movie 'The Kerala Story' be released with 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.
Another plea in the apex court had sought a stay on the release of the film saying it allegedly promotes hate speech.
The film depicts how thousands of young women were allegedly brainwashed into joining the Islamic State (IS) and headed off to countries like Syria and Afghanistan.
'The Kerala Story', starring Adah Sharma, was released in cinemas on May 5. (ANI)

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