SC protects filmmaker Leena Manimekalai against multiple FIRs-


Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Filmmaker Leena Manimekalai breathed a sigh of relief as the Supreme Court on Friday granted her protection from coercive action against multiple FIRs registered in various states for depicting Hindu Goddess Kaali smoking a cigarette in a poster of her film “Kaali”. 

The bench of CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha granted protection for FIRs registered in the states of MP, UP, Uttarakhand and GNCTD and similar FIRs in respect of the same film.

Seeking the response of states where an FIR has been registered, the court in their order said, “Issue notice to the respondents. Liberty to serve the CA & counsel for GNCTD, UP, MP & UK. List on 17 Feb. In the meantime no coercive steps against her either on FIR as noted above or any other FIR which may be lodged in respect of the same film.“

Appearing for the filmmaker, advocate Kamini Jaiswal told the bench that apart from the registration of FIR, a lookout circular was also issued against her. She also said that Leena had no intention to hurt religious sentiments through the depiction of the goddess and her objective was to depict the goddess in an inclusive sense. 

Manimekalai in her plea filed through advocate Indira Unninayar argued that the registration of multiple FIRs has resulted in an infringement of her right to freedom of speech and expression. She had also sought action against those who had issued threats to her on social media. 

The filmmaker argued that instead of taking action against the dangerous cyber trolls, the State had instead targeted her.

“Such State action is violative of her rights to creative interpretation as a filmmaker under Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution. It is also violative of her rights to life, liberty and reputation, and, safety and safe passage under Articles 21 r/w 19(1). It also impinges upon her academic freedom, the right to impart and exchange ideas and enrich one’s development subject only, to restrictions of law,” her plea stated. 

“Further, a grossly unconstitutional and arbitrary attempt by the State to impose the idea of a unitary, homogenous version of Kali by terming it ‘Hindu’ upon other cultural, traditional and religious identities, including those from the State of Tamil Nadu, where Petitioner hails from,” the petition also stated.

NEW DELHI: Filmmaker Leena Manimekalai breathed a sigh of relief as the Supreme Court on Friday granted her protection from coercive action against multiple FIRs registered in various states for depicting Hindu Goddess Kaali smoking a cigarette in a poster of her film “Kaali”. 

The bench of CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha granted protection for FIRs registered in the states of MP, UP, Uttarakhand and GNCTD and similar FIRs in respect of the same film.

Seeking the response of states where an FIR has been registered, the court in their order said, “Issue notice to the respondents. Liberty to serve the CA & counsel for GNCTD, UP, MP & UK. List on 17 Feb. In the meantime no coercive steps against her either on FIR as noted above or any other FIR which may be lodged in respect of the same film.“

Appearing for the filmmaker, advocate Kamini Jaiswal told the bench that apart from the registration of FIR, a lookout circular was also issued against her. She also said that Leena had no intention to hurt religious sentiments through the depiction of the goddess and her objective was to depict the goddess in an inclusive sense. 

Manimekalai in her plea filed through advocate Indira Unninayar argued that the registration of multiple FIRs has resulted in an infringement of her right to freedom of speech and expression. She had also sought action against those who had issued threats to her on social media. 

The filmmaker argued that instead of taking action against the dangerous cyber trolls, the State had instead targeted her.

“Such State action is violative of her rights to creative interpretation as a filmmaker under Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution. It is also violative of her rights to life, liberty and reputation, and, safety and safe passage under Articles 21 r/w 19(1). It also impinges upon her academic freedom, the right to impart and exchange ideas and enrich one’s development subject only, to restrictions of law,” her plea stated. 

“Further, a grossly unconstitutional and arbitrary attempt by the State to impose the idea of a unitary, homogenous version of Kali by terming it ‘Hindu’ upon other cultural, traditional and religious identities, including those from the State of Tamil Nadu, where Petitioner hails from,” the petition also stated.



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