The Bombay high court on Monday refused to grant an interim stay on the release of the upcoming film ‘Santa Banta Pvt Ltd’ while hearing a petition alleging that the film had defamed members of the Sikh community and portrayed them in bad light.
Justice SC Dharmadhikari, heading a division bench, said, “We cannot stop the release of any film unless an opportunity is given to the producer and censor board to answer the allegations.”
Accordingly, the court asked the respondents to file affidavits in reply to the petition within two weeks.
The petition, filed by Charan Singh Sapra, Congress MLC from suburban Mulund, alleged that the film had hurt the sentiments of Sikhs as it contained “indecent and filthy” dialogues and jokes about the community.
Petitioner’s lawyer BA Desai showed posters of the film to the bench, alleging indecency shown by the actors and urging for direction to the censor board to withdraw its certificate issued to the producers to exhibit the film in cinemas all over the country.
Desai cited Supreme Court judgments to show that “indecent” behaviour of characters in a film could not be tolerated and said the film’s dialogues were against public order.
He also pointed out that the dialogues of the film went against the spirit of the Constitution and said it might create law-and-order problem as it had hurt the sentiments of a particular community. The jokes on ‘Sardarji’ were intolerable and indecent and intended to defame them, said the lawyer.
He pleaded for an interim relief to stop the release of the film on April 22, but the court refused to consider it saying it would hear the other side before passing any such order.
Senior lawyer and former advocate general Ravi Kadam appeared for the producers, while Kapil Moye appeared for the censor board.