Delhi High Court: Enforcing the rights of artist to portray social reality in all its forms, the Court dismissed the petition seeking restraint on the exhibition of the Hindi feature film titled “PK”, on the ground that it hurts the religious sentiments of all the communities and mainly of Hindus thereby violating the rights of Hindus under the Articles 19(2) and 25 of COI, the division bench of G. Rohini CJ. and R.S. Endlaw J. held that feature film depicted the reality of life, showing self-styled Godman preaching Hindu religion for their personal gains and fooling his followers and such Godman cannot be confused with the Hindu religion, making fun of a Godman cannot be said to be showing the Hindu religion in bad light. The Court also held that watching a feature film is the conscious choice of the spectator and person offended by the content or the theme of the file are free to avoid watching the film.
In the instant case, the Court referred the different sections of the Cinematograph Act 1952 (Act) which requires film must not be against interest of the security of State, public order, decency or morality and likely to incite the commission of any offence and at the same time Guidelines for Certification of Films for Public Exhibition formulated in exercise of power granted under the Act describes the objective of film certification which are to ensure that (a) films remain responsible and sensitive to the values and standard of society; (b) artistic and creative freedom is not curbed; (c) film must provide clean and healthy entertainment. The Court clarified that there is protection afforded to religion by the Guidelines not to any self-styled Godman.
The Court also observed that the effect of the offending words or visuals is to be judged from the standard of reasonable, strong-minded, firm and courageous men and not those of weak or who sense danger in every hostile point of view. The Court further substantiated that right to communicate and receive ideas, facts, knowledge, information, beliefs etc by speech, through newspaper; magazine is protected under right to freedom of speech and expression. Ajay Gautam v.