Movie on Odisha parcel bomb blast still under certification, CBFC tells HC

Published on Feb 24, 2020 06:02 PM IST
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ByKanchan Chaudhari, Mumbai

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on Monday told the Bombay high court (HC) that the film Patnagarh, purportedly based on the February 2018 parcel bomb explosion case in Odisha, was still under certification. This comes following a petition by the wife of the main accused in the explosion case seeking a stay on the film’s release.

Advocate Advait Sethna, representing CBFC, informed a division bench of justice Amjad Sayed and justice Anuja Prabhudessai that pursuant to direction of the Supreme Court, a review committee of CBFC has reviewed the film and suggested certain changes and that the regional officer at Mumbai has informed the producer and director of the movie about the same. Sethna added that the film cannot be released before it is certified by CBFC.

He was responding to a petition filed by Soudamini Meher, wife of Punjlal Meher, prime accused in the bomb blast case. According to her petition, filed through advocate Vinod Sangvikar, a powerful explosion took place at the residence of one Soumya Shekhar Sahu at Patnagarh on February 23, 2018. The explosion, triggered when Sahu opened a parcel, was powerful and severely damaged the room. Sahu and his grandmother Jemamani suffered severe injuries in the blast and died on way to hospital.

About two months later, police arrested Punjlal Meher on April 24, 2018, accusing him to be the mastermind behind the parcel bomb explosion. Police claimed the crime was committed out of workplace rivalry, as Sahu’s mother had replaced the Meher, an English professor, as principal at Jyoti Vikash Junior College at Bhainsa.

Sethna’s comments came after the woman’s lawyer pointed out that the film produced by Sridhar Martha and directed by Rajesh Touchriver was set to be released on Friday.

According to Soudamini’s petition, the film contains minute details of the incident and “the trial is yet to begin but, the movie attempts to convey the message of guilt of the petitioner’s husband in the minds of the society.”

She has contended that apart from violating her husband’s right to a fair trial, the release of the film will also harm the reputation of her family and breach their right to privacy, as the film has been produced and is scheduled to be released without their consent.

She has, therefore, urged the court to restrain the producer and director of the film from releasing it, which they claimed is scheduled to be released on Friday. She has also sought a direction to the CBFC to withhold the certification granted to the movie.

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