High Court Refuses to Stay Release of ‘Santa Banta Pvt Ltd’ Movie

Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee had claimed that the film makes fun of the Sikh community.

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(Photo Courtesy: Movie poster)

Delhi High Court on Friday refused to stay the release of the movie Santa Banta Pvt Ltd scheduled for Saturday.

Justice JR Midha passed the order declining the plea of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) seeking stay on the film on the grounds that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has not complied with the High Court’s direction.

The counsel for DSGMC referred to the 19 April direction during the hearing of the contempt plea filed by it and two others against CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nihalani and CEO Anurag Shrivastava, in which it was alleged that they had not complied with the March 29 directions given by the court.

He said that CBFC has not complied with the High Court order asking it to give them hearing on the issue. The DSGMC had claimed that the film makes fun of the Sikh community.

Seeking a stay on the film’s release, DSGMC claimed that they had met CBFC officials at Mumbai in pursuance to court’s April 19 order, but were neither given a proper hearing nor was the movie shown to them.

Countering the submissions, the Central government’s standing counsel, Anil Soni, said a patient hearing was given to DSGMC.

The court refused to stay the release of the movie, observing that it had the jurisdiction to hear only contempt matters and as per the arguments advanced by the standing counsel, no contempt was made out.

The bench also told the petitioner that it does not have the writ jurisdiction to stay the release of movie and they can approach appropriate court as per law. “Under the contempt action, injunction cannot be granted,” the court said.

To this, the DSGMC sought withdrawal of their plea, which was allowed by the court.

On 29 March, 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 parties to be heard on the issue before passing the appropriate order.

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