HC issues notice to Punjab Govt over FIR against 'Ram Leela'
Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued a notice to the state government on a plea filed by Bollywood director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, actor Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone seeking quashing of an FIR registered against them for "hurting" religious sentiments by their movie 'Ram Leela'.
Justice Jatinder Chauhan sought reply by November 14 from the state of Punjab and the complainant Lalit Kumar, who lodged the FIR at Jalandhar against Bhansali and the two actors on September 26.
The complainant alleged that the content of the forthcoming movie 'Ram Leela', scheduled to be released on November 15, is highly objectionable and offends the religious sentiments of the public believing in Hindu mythology.
On the complaint, the Jalandhar Police registered an FIR under Section 295-A (deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code. The court did not pass any order on the petitioner's plea seeking a stay on the trial court proceedings at Jalandhar during the pendency of the petition in the High Court.
The complainant had alleged that the title of the film, its trailer and photographs are highly objectionable and offended religious sentiments of people believing in Hindu mythology. He alleged that the story of the film has nothing to do with the life of Lord Rama.
In their plea, Bhansali, Ranveer and Deepika submitted that the film is inspired by William Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'. They claimed that Ram and Leela refer to the names of the two protagonists and thus the title of the movie is justified.Thus, no offence under section 295-A of the IPC is made out.
They said the Central Board of Film Certification has granted the certificate under Cinematography Act to the film and therefore it could not be implied that they had any intention to hurt religious sentiments of any community or religion.