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Karnataka HC Orders State to Provide Security for Peaceful Release of Rajinikanth's Kaala

The Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce had on May 29 decided not to allow screening of 'Kaala', due for release on June 7.


Updated:June 5, 2018, 5:58 PM IST
Karnataka HC Orders State to Provide Security for Peaceful Release of Rajinikanth's Kaala
A still from the Rajinikanth starrer Kaala.

The Karnataka High Court today directed the state government to provide necessary security for peaceful release of superstar Rajinikanth-starrer Kaala, which pro-Kannada outfits had threatened to stall over the actor's reported remarks on the Cauvery row. Justice G Narendar issued the direction on the basis of a Supreme Court order, which had stayed ban orders imposed on the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film Padmaavat by four states, including Rajasthan, early this year.

"Freedom of speech and expression, particularly as a medium of expression in films, cannot be curtailed. The creative content is am insegregable aspect of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution," the judge said, citing the Supreme Court verdict on the release of the film Padmaavat.

The Supreme Court in January had cleared the release of Padmaavat and had stayed ban orders imposed by Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana.

Miffed with Rajinikanth's reported comments that whichever government comes to power in Karnataka should implement the Supreme Court order on Cauvery water sharing in toto, the Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce had on May 29 decided not to allow screening of Kaala, due for release on June 7.

"A decision has been taken that Rajinikanth's movie will neither be distributed nor screened anywhere in Karnataka," KFCC president Sa Ra Govindu had announced.

Justice Narendar today also issued the direction to the government after Additional Advocate General A G Shivanna said there was no ban imposed on the release of Kaala and the government is prepared to give security to exhibitors if they furnished details.

"My Lord, there has been no ban imposed on the release of 'Kaala' film by any organisation, but the government is ready to provide security to exhibitors for peaceful screening of the film in theatres and multiplexes across Karnataka if they provide us details," Shivanna said.

Justice Narendar, however, observed that he cannot make it mandatory on exhibitors to screen the film.

The court was hearing a petition by Kaala's producer K Dhanush and his wife Aishwarya, who sought directions to the Karnataka government and the KFCC for smooth release of the film.

They had made the state government, home department, state police chief, Bengaluru city police commissioner, Central Board of Film Certification and KFCC as respondents in their plea.

Kaala is scheduled for a worldwide release on June 7, but the KFCC had said the film would neither be distributed nor screened in the state.

During the hearing, Dhanush's counsel Chintan Chinnappa argued that it is the fundamental right of the petitioners under the Constitution to exhibit the film.

"After receiving CBFC certification under Section 5B of the Cinematograph Act, 1952, for the release, it is the fundamental right of the petitioner under Article 19(1) of the Constitution to exhibit the film," he said.

Chinnappa also said several pro-Kannada outfits had made representations to Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, requesting a ban on Kaala following Rajinikanth's alleged views on the Cauvery dispute.

The KFCC had said it had neither instructed protesters nor the exhibitors to exhibit the film.

"The exhibitors and distributors on their own took the decision not to screen and release the film, citing security reasons," Govindu had said.

Many pro-Kannada organisations had threatened to vandalise theatres if they screened the film.

Earlier, the distributors association said they were against the ban and did not have any role to play to stop Kaala's screening.

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