Setback for Smriti Irani’s ministry as Kerala High Court overrules decision, says S Durga must be screened at IFFI

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The Kerala High Court has overruled Smriti Irani’s ministry’s decision and directed the Centre to allow the screening of Malayalam film “S Durga” at the ongoing IFFI in Goa.

Kerala High Court

This is after the Information and Broadcasting Ministry dropped the from the festival causing huge outrage by the members of the film fraternity.

Allowing a petition by the films director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, Justice K Vinod Chandran directed the respondents, including the I&B Secretary and Directorate of Film Festivals, to screen the certified version of the movie at the 48th edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI), reported PTI.

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Overruling the recommendation of the 13-member jury, the I&B ministry pulled out “S Durga” and Marathi movie “Nude” from the festival, which will continue till 28 November.

Protesting the I&B ministry’s decision filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh had resigned as the jury chief for IFFI. The jury had earlier recommended ‘Nude’ as the opening film, with Sujoy calling it a ‘strong feminist film’ and also lauding ‘S Durga’ for its strong message about women’s safety, reported PTI.

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The petitioner in the Kerala High Court had submitted that the ministry “arbitrarily vetoed” the jurys decision “without any authority of law” and excluded the film without notice to him and also without assigning any reason.

The judge in his order referred to the submission of the central governments counsel that the film was dropped as at the time of its selection by the jury on October 3, the certification by the censor board had not been obtained. The Central Board of Film Certification gave “U/A” certificate for the film on October 10 after the title was changed as “S Durga” and other deletions.

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It was not the claim of the petitioner that he wanted to present an uncertified version. The subsequent CBFC “certification is the essential part of the cause of action of the petitioner which enables him to claim a screening of the film at the festival”, the court ruled allowing the petition.

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