Delhi High Court today asked the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to hear the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) which has claimed that the upcoming film ‘Santa Banta Pvt Ltd’ makes fun of the Sikh community.
Justice J R Midha said this after the bench was informed by the government that DSGMC’s member can have a meeting tomorrow at CBFC chairman’s office in Mumbai regarding the film, which is scheduled to be released on April 22.
The issue was also brought up today before the Supreme Court which asked the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) counsel that he could file a petition and challenge whichever aspect they felt aggrieved of in the movie.
The high court was hearing a plea filed by DSGMC and two others against CBFC’s chairman Pahlaj Nihalani and its CEO Anurag Shrivastava in which it was alleged that they had not complied with the March 29 directions given by the court.
On March 29, a bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini had directed the CBFC to reconsider the ‘U/A’ certification issued to the film and asked it to give an opportunity to partiesto be heard on the issue before passing appropriate order.
The division bench had also asked CBFC to treat as a representation the petition filed by DSGMC, which has claimed that the movie could lead to “disturbance”.
In the plea which came up for hearing today, DSGMC alleged that the CBFC had “clandestinely” passed an order on April 7 without hearing them on the issue about certification of the movie despite court’s direction.
Countering DSGMC claims, government’s standing counsel Anil Soni told the court that proper messages were sent to them but they did not appear before the CBFC for a discussion.
“They (petitioners) are the ones who did not take the opportunity granted by the court. We have passed the order in their absence keeping in view their representation,” he said.
The counsel appearing for the petitioners said they had not received any such communication from CBFC. Soni then said the DSGMC members could meet CBFC officers tomorrow in Mumbai.
During the hearing, the court said one opportunity should be granted to DSGMC to discuss the issue with the CBFC. It also said a fresh order be passed by CBFC on or before April 21 after hearing the petitioners.
During the hearing on the petition earlier before a division bench, the censor board had stood by its decision to certify it on the ground that there was nothing objectionable.
In its petition filed before the division bench, DSGMC had sought stay on the film’s release contending that it “misrepresented” the community and projected “the personality of the community in defamatory and denigrating manner” which could cause “disturbance”.