New Delhi: The Uttarakhand high court on Thursday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a ban on the film Kedarnath, asking the petitioners not to watch the movie if they did not like its premise.
A similar PIL drew flak from the Gujarat high court on Wednesday. The Gujarat HC called the litigation a ‘publicity stunt’. Both the petitioners alleged that the film, which depicts a love story between a Muslim porter and a Hindu girl, hurt religious sentiments. The Gujarat high court even slapped the petitioner with a Rs 5,000 fine.
According to a Times Of India report, the Uttarakhand high court said, “Don’t see the movie if you don’t like it. We are not the censor board. We are a democracy and everyone is free to exercise their rights. The state shall ensure law and order is maintained”.
The division bench, comprising Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice Ramesh Chand Khulbe, also advised the petitioner to approach a high-powered committee formed by the state government under the chairmanship of tourism minister Satpal Maharaj.
PILs seeking a ban on films have become a regular occurrence. PIL’s have sought a ban on films like Parched, Padmaavat, Loveyatri, PK and Ramleela. Previously, the Supreme Court came down heavily on individual states against opting for a blanket ban across states according to the whims of state governments.
While the Uttarakhand HC rejected the PIL, district magistrates of Nainital and Udham Singh Nagar on Thursday imposed a ban on the screening of Kedarnath, apprehending disruption of law and order. The magistrates said the protesters might disrupt peace if the movie was screened in theatres.
Meanwhile, the state government held a meeting chaired by chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat late in the evening. The meeting was held after a report submitted by a high powered committee headed by tourism minister Satpal Maharaj examined the objections to the film and decided not to declare an official ban.
A ban has been imposed on the screening of the film in seven districts of Uttarakhand, namely Dehradun, Haridwar, Nainital, Udham Singh Nagar, Pauri, Tehri and Almora.
With PTI inputs.