The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down an interlocutory application (IA) challenging the release of movie “The Kerala Story” on the grounds of hate speech and propaganda.
Directed by Sudipto Sen and produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah, the film follows the theme of religious conversion and falsely claims that nearly 32,000 women from Kerala were forcefully converted to into Islam and made to join ISIS.
Advocate Nizam Pasha, who was representing the petition against the film, argued that it was “audio-visual hate propaganda.” Senior advocate Kapil Sibal informed the bench that the trailer for the film constituted the “worst kind of hate speech” and had already garnered millions of views across different languages.
A bench consisting of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna expressed difficulty in considering an IA. Given that the film has received certification by the Central Board of Film Certification, a court can only consider a challenge to certification in the form of a substantive petition.
“There are varieties of hate speeches. This film has got certification and has been cleared by the board. It’s not like a person getting on the podium and starts giving uncontrolled speech. If you want to challenge the release of the movie, you should challenge the certification and through appropriate forum,” Justice Joseph said.
Justice Nagarathna also asked why this was not taken up at a High Court level first. When Pasha argued that this was done due to a lack of time as the movie is scheduled to release on Friday, the judge replied that these are not valid grounds.
Advocate Sibal said that he would file a substantive petition tomorrow and seek an urgent listing by mentioning before the Chief Justice of India, but pleaded that the bench look at the IA in the meantime as they are short on time.