Word “Adivasi” does not mean people belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes

Delhi High Court: Deciding upon a plea seeking a ban on the screening of the film “MSG-2 The Messenger”. A single judge bench comprising  of Rajiv Sahai Endlaw J. rejected  the writ petition on the ground that it depicts ‘Adivasis’ as anti-national, noting the film’s trailer depicts “a fantasy to the viewers and has to be understood in that light only.” The Court held that “adivasi” connotes aboriginal people and not people falling in the definition of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in Articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution.

The plea had sought quashing of the certificate issued by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to the film and direction to the Ministry of Home Affairs, to issue appropriate orders to ‘YouTube’ to take down the trailer of the said film from its website on the ground that the film is contumacious of a distinct group ‘Adivasis’ and depicts them as anti-national; neither humans nor animals but “Shaitaans” who have to be converted into “Insaans”, which cannot be permitted. The plea filed by the petitioner also sought an interim stay on the release of the Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh starrer and said the matter should be decided after holding a special screening of the film. The Court observed that even the Constitution of India in Hindi does not use the word “adivasi” in Articles 341, 342 and 366 in place of the word “tribe”. The word used for the word tribe therein is “janjati”. It was thus observed that the term “adivasi” is not indicative of tribes or scheduled tribes but is indicative of the earliest inhabitants of any land whether it be in India or anywhere else in the world.

It was further held that the film is a work of fiction intended to show its protagonist who in his real life form also proclaims to be a spiritual leader, in a superhuman form. The Court felt that only such films can be said to be having propensity of inculcating hatred, ill-will and violence towards a person or group of persons which show life as is ordinarily understood by the viewers and not a film which, to the average viewers’ understanding, is not depicting life but a fantasy or what is surreal. The bench said, with the vast reach of the electronic and print media in each and every nook and corner of the country, people can’t be said to be “so naive as to be not able to distinguish between real and fantasy”.  It was also noted that the subject film from the trailer is found to be depicting a fantasy to the viewers and has to be understood in the said light only. In fact, in some scenes in the trailer, the adivasis are shown with two horns and having the lower body as of an animal and the upper torso of a human being. The reference in the film to adivasis is not found to be relatable in any manner to scheduled tribes. Prem Mardi v. Union of India, 2015 SCC OnLine Del 12039, decided on 16-09-2015

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.