• Delhi HC asks Censor Board to look into the certification for “Santa Banta Pvt. Ltd.”

    April 01, 2016

    WhatsApp jokes, newspaper jokes, wallpapers and tv shows. The stories of Santa Banta were the source of many laughs for decades. Although funny, it seems that the jokes were taken too seriously by some. Recently, “Santa Banta Pvt. Ltd.” - a film adaptation based on the comic duo received a U/A rating from the Censor Board of India. But the film has evoked much protest from within the Sikh community, many claiming that the film made fun of the community and portrayed it in bad taste.

    Earlier in the month,a PIL was filed by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee alleging that the movie was projecting the personality of Sikh community in defamatory and denigrating manner, which could cause “disturbance” in the society. The Sikh group, through senior advocate APS Ahluwalia, had argued that the posters and trailers of the film characterized “Sikh community in a defamatory and denigrating manner”. The Committee also sought a stay on the release of the movie for the same reasons. But the Delhi High Court brushed aside the request and told the Committee that the most it could do is to ask the Censor Board to look into the matter and recheck the censor certification for the movie. The movie was given a U/A certification earlier.

    A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath asked CBFC to treat as a representation the petition filed by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).

    "In the facts of this case, we, therefore, consider it appropriate to direct the respondent number 2/CBFC to treat this petition as a representation and consider whether the U/A certificate issued to the film in question requires reconsideration," the bench said. "Though the respondent 3 (distributor) made available to this court a CD of the film in question, instead of this court viewing it and deciding the question as to whether contents of the film would prejudicially affect rights of Sikh community or not, we consider it appropriate to direct the CBFC, which is a statutory body of experts, to consider the tenability of objections raised by petitioners in the light of provisions of the Cinematograph Act and the rules made thereunder as well as the guidelines issued by the Central Government and to take an appropriate decision in accordance with law," it said.


    Our country is not new to a group of religious people believing to represent the whole community attacking the piece of contention. Not much time has passed since Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan posted on the micro-blogging site Twitter the following tweet : “Ther r more chances of me having had an affair with d Pope dan any of d (Im sure wonderful)women d media hs ben naming.Thanks but no thanks.” This angered a few select Christian groups and they asked the actor to apologize to the Christian community in India. Went too far? Not yet. They then went on to file a legal case and the second legal notice till then has been imposed on Hrithik. Arguments such as these will never cease to exist in a multicultural and multireligious country like India. Films, plays and music will be released and people will get offended. But for most part of it, the actors, directors and musicians will get away with it under the veil of free speech.

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