No stay, but CBFC asked to hear Sikh community leaders on Bollywood film "Santa Banta Pvt. Ltd.'

NEW DELHI: Even as the The Bombay High Court refused the stay the screening of the Bollywood film “Santa Banta Pvt. Ltd.”, the Delhi High Court has asked the the Central Board of Film Certification to give a hearing to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.

The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra government, the CBFC and the producers to given their affidavits in reply to a petition filed against the film which the Punjab Cultural Heritage Board president Charan Singh Sapra and others claimed depicts the Sikh community in poor light and it could pose a threat to public order.

A division bench of Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari and Justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi  listed the matter for 27 April. Advocate B.A. Desai said the film was a mockery of the high principles of the Sikh faith and portrays a community member as “a dumb, unreasonable person who is an obvious idiot”.

(It may be recalled that the Supreme Court had earlier in another case issued an order banning websites that carry jokes about the Sikh community.)

Earlier on 29 March, a bench led by Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini had advised the CBFC to reconsider a U/A certificate to the film.

Justice J R Midha was later informed that by the government that the DSGMC’s member could have a meeting at the CBFC chairman’s office in Mumbai regarding the film scheduled to be released on 22 April.

The issue was also brought up before the Supreme Court, which said the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) counsel could file a petition and challenge whichever aspect his client felt aggrieved by.

The Delhi High Court hearing was on a plea filed by the DSGMC and two others against CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nihalani and its CEO Anurag Shrivastava in which it was alleged that they had not complied with the 29 March directions given by the court.

In the plea which came up for hearing yesterday, the DSGMC alleged that CBFC had “clandestinely” passed an order on 7 April without hearing them on the issue about certification of the movie despite the court’s direction.But the 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.

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