Updated: October 1, 2021 4:28:36 pm
The Delhi High Court Friday refused to entertain a public interest litigation (PIL) against the release of a movie, ‘The Conversion’, saying “provocation depends upon the mental attitude of the people”. However, the court asked the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to take a decision on the representation made by the petitioner against the movie.
All India Lawyers Council prayed for withholding the release of the movie and also sought a direct deletion of its trailer from YouTube.
The petitioner argued that the movie has the potential of communal polarisation and its trailer shows biased and communal content. The trailer suggests that the movie portrays a particular community as cruel, said the petition.
Advocate Adil Sharfuddin, representing the petitioner, submitted before the court that films are one of the most influential mediums of mass communication and the movie has the potential to cause “identity-based violence”. Sharfuddin told the court that a representation was sent to the authorities but no action has been taken till date.
However, the division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh asked the counsel whether he had seen the movie or filed the petition after seeing only one or two scenes. “Provocation depends upon the mental attitude of the person. Some people will never be provoked. You might be provoked but others are very cool and calm,” observed Justice Patel.
“You may feel provoked by anything without speaking a word by any person. Some people are not even provoked after 10 sentences,” continued the court.
The court also said that the country has a large population and that it cannot issue notice in the petition just because one person is feeling provoked. “Ten people will come and say that we are never provoked, you don’t know,” it said.
However, the court said it will ask the Centre to decide the representation of the petitioner against the movie release. “They have got the power to look at the whole movie,” it said.
While disposing of the petition, the court directed the authorities concerned to decide the representation dated August 31 “in accordance with law, rules, regulations, government policies applicable to the facts of the case and on the basis of evidences on record, as expeditiously as possible and practicable keeping in mind the allegations of the petitioner that the movie ‘The Conversion’ is going to be released 8th of October, 2021.”
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