The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday refused to stay the screening of ‘MSG: The Messenger’, starring Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, in Chandigarh and Haryana.
The fresh petition was filed on Thursday morning, seeking a ban on screening of the movie by Jagdish Singh Jhinda, president, Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC). The movie is slated for release on Friday. It has already been banned by the Punjab government.
The HC asked Jhinda’s counsel as to how the court could grant a stay on this petition as it had already denied stay on a similar petition earlier. Later, the court adjourned the hearing on a petition for March 3, when the main petition comes up for hearing.
“People have to learn to live with so many religions and faiths... Seculars cannot become panicky (on such issues),” the bench of justice SK Mittal and justice Deepak Sibal said in an open court as the counsel argued that the movie’s release could create a law and order situation.
Following the HC hearing, Jhinda said it was unfortunate that they could not secure stay from the HC. “I appeal to the people to protest peacefully and not indulge in violence when the movie is released on Friday. We are ready for a long war (against Ram Rahim),” he said, adding that he did not have anything against the movie and the only problem was Ram Rahim’s ‘portrayal of God’.
In Thursday’s petition, Jhinda had submitted that the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) order of clearing the movie for release was ‘erroneous’ and violated the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
Earlier, the Kalgidhar Sewak Jatha had filed the petition in January, on which the HC had refused to stay the screening of movie.
During the last hearing on February 4, the HC had issued notices to Dera Sacha Sauda, Gurmeet Ram Rahim, Haryana, Chandigarh, Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) etc. The petitioner had also cited protests by Sikh bodies in Punjab and argued that the release was likely to cause breach of peace and hurt religious sentiments of all communities, which might lead to a law and order problem.