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Nobody can stop portrayal of religious beliefs, says Supreme Court

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it will hear on May 8 the submission and the counter on behalf of the film producer and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

punjab Updated: Apr 16, 2018 23:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Nanak Shah Fakir,Supreme court,Chief Justice Dipak Misra

The Supreme Court said on Monday that nobody, including religious bodies like the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) can stop people from portraying their religious beliefs through writings, paintings or movies.

Refusing to vacate its April 10 movie that ordered the release of the film Nanak Shah Fakir based on the life and teachings of Guru Nanak, the court said it shall not deliberate on the essential practices of a religion. “The film in question is only spreading awareness about the philosophy of Guru Nanak, to press his teachings on young mind. Prima facie, there is no connection with reality. There is only a projection of Guru Nanak on celluloid. If such a projection hurts his position in the society, then it is a different issue,” the court said.

The SC is seized of a petition filed by the movie’s producer who approached the top court after the SGPC warned against the release of the film. On Monday, the SGPC pressed for vacating the stay. Though senior advocate PS Patwalia appearing for the SGPC, argued that the religious body was entitled to protection under the constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion, the apex court, felt that such rights cannot override the fundamental right of free speech. “It’s just (movie) is portraying about the life of the Guru. No religion can say you can’t write or portray about our religion. We cannot enforce a rule that no one may write a book on a religion or make painting on religion. These are secular matters...” the court replied.

“The film has won national acclaim… It has got a national award. The film is meant to venerate the Guru and create awareness among the people. We don’t want to intervene. Better watch the movie. We will hear both of you,” CJI Misra told Patwalia.

Patwalia contended the film producer had concealed the fact that the SGPC had by two earlier resolutions — 2003 and 2015.

First Published: Apr 16, 2018 17:35 IST