The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday declined to stay the release of controversial film ‘Messenger of God (MSG)’, featuring Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
As the petition filed in public interest by a Mohali-based trust against the film’s release came up for hearing, a division bench of the High Court comprising Justices S K Mittal and Deepak Sibal issued notices of motion to the Union of India, Haryana government, Chandigarh administration, Film Censor Board, Film Certification Appellant Tribunal (FCAT), Dera Sacha Sauda and its head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and posted the matter for March 3.
The orders on the film came less than ten days before the scheduled nation–wide release of the film.
The orders were issued nearly 20 days after Mumbai-based Film Certification Appellate Tribunal set aside the ban imposed by the Central Board of Film Certification on public exhibition of ‘Messenger of God’.
Raising objections to its release, Mohali-based Kalgidhar Sevak Jatha had moved the High Court.
In its petition filed in public interest, the organization had sought ban on screening ‘Messenger of God’ in Punjab and Haryana.
It claimed the movie’s exhibition would pose a serious threat to the law and order situation in the two states.
The petitioner claimed that the protagonist of the film Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had tried to project himself as messenger of God in the movie though he was an accused in cases being investigated by the CBI.
The petitioner has also objected to certain dialogues in the movie and said Punjab government has already stopped the screening in the state considering the possibility of violence.
The screening of the movie, on in Haryana, Chandigarh andother parts of the country, may lead to incidents of violence, the petitioner contended.
Petitioner’s counsel R K Samyal contended that the FCAT had made observation that the screening of MSG will not hurt religious sentiments without giving “valid reasons.”
“The FCAT order on film should be supported by some valid law and reasoning,” he said.
The court said that it will see the promos of the film.
Meanwhile, Naveen Saini, counsel for the petitioners told media that the court will watch the movie first and assess if it hurts sentiments of the people.
The opposition party in Haryana, Indian National Lok Dal is also opposing the release of MSG in the state.
Party leaders have alleged that the Dera chief is facing serious criminal charges of sexual abuse and murder and his portrayal as a hero in the movie will have negative effect on the youth.
Dera spokesperson Aditya has welcomed court’s clearance and said that they have already complied with the edits suggested by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal.
The film’s grand premier will be organised on February 11 or 12.