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How pseudo-nationalists attempted and failed to tame 'Mersal'

The petition contended there was apparent false information about GST and Digital India Scheme, which would encourage people to indulge in tax evasion. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India Oct 30, 2017, 09.58 AM (IST) Written By: Judy Franko

"If you were really concerned about public and the society you should have started campaigns against various social evils like untouchability and safety of women. But you choose to target a particular movie."

Those were the words of justices M M Sundresh and M Sundar of Madras High Court while summarily dismissing a petition seeking a direction to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to revoke the censor certificate issued to Vijay starrer Mersal for it's ''anti-GST'' dialogues.

The petitioner argued that the movie contained scenes and dialogues, which were against the interests of the country's sovereignty and integrity and the security of the state.
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The judges while junking pseudo-nationalism propagated by the petitioner said in a mature democracy, the voices of the minority cannot be stifled and concluded that ultimately it was for the viewers to take a call on the contents of a movie.

The petitioner, forgetting that 'Mersal' is after all just a movie, argued that the movie contained scenes and dialogues, which were against the interests of the country's sovereignty and integrity and the security of the state. Here, we are made to wonder whether the petitioner a true patriot? If he is, as he claims himself to be, what's he doing on the court? Should he be fighting our country's enemies along the borders?

The petitioner's contention was that the apparent false information about GST and Digital India Scheme would encourage people to indulge in tax evasion. So, as per the petitioner's argument, nobody hides income in India and everyone files taxes without fail, and this movie was going to open black money floodgates.

The petitioner and all those who have been demanding to purge certain scenes in the film conveniently forgot that Mersal is, after all, a work of fiction.
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Donald Trump's "America first" policy will draw a blank in front of the patriotic spirit of this petitioner. One wonders how the petitioner and all those who have been demanding to purge certain scenes in the film conveniently forgot that Mersal is, after all, a work of fiction.

The judges had to step forward and remind the petitioner and other BJP leaders that India and, especially, Tamil Nadu is a democracy. "This is a democracy and people have their right to freedom of expression, and this applies to films as well," the judges said in their order.

"Even today the media has reported that the Leader of Opposition in the state has criticised demonetisation, can the court pass a gag order against him from making such statements," the bench further said.

Wondering how the Censor Board had issued certification for the above movie, the petitioner had said: "the film was full of wrong propaganda about India and fake dialogues and scenes which obviously lead to the misconception about the new taxation system (Goods and Service Tax)."

The judges condemned the pseudo-nationalist petitioner and dismissed the plea as devoid of merit.

The petitioner's motivation was to invoke communal disharmony in Tamil Nadu for electrical dividends.
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This is not the first time the court's precious time was wasted on a useless petition. Recently, the Delhi High Court junked a petition filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy seeking a court-monitored SIT probe into the death of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushkar, terming his PIL as a "textbook example of a political interest litigation".

While observing that the petition by Swamy cannot be entertained as a PIL, the bench said that "Courts need to be careful that judicial process is not used by political persons for their own purposes".

The courts of our country have seen several such petitions now and then.

What's the intention of people filing such petitions? Are they really concerned about the issues that the country is facing? If so, why they don't suggest solutions to issues plaguing the country instead of wasting court's time and energy?

The petitioner's motivation was to invoke disharmony in Tamil Nadu for electrical dividends, not realising that the state had consigned these kinds of prejudice and preconceived notions to oblivion ages ago.

Judy Franko

Judy Franko is a Digital Journalist at WION. He believes that the best way to learn is to be under the impression that you are a novice, always.