Justice Devan Ramachandran of Kerala High Court expressed apprehension about the growing intolerance regarding religion and matters of faith.
“Bible is used to hide a gun so Christians are unhappy. If it is Gita, Hindus will become unhappy. If it is Quran, Muslims will be unhappy”.
The bench also emphasized the importance of upholding the freedom of expression for artists, specifically filmmakers, as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others.
The petition was moved by Joji Varghese contending the scene in the Malayalam movie ‘Antony’ where a Bible is used to conceal a gun.
According to the petitioner, the scene is an affront to Christianity.
Justice observed that such scenes were frequently used in English movies from 1960s and 70s.
Justice said “It must be borne in mind that the production and creation of a cinematographic movie is, in part, guided by imagination, and for the other, perhaps, real life experiences. The liberty of a team, while creating a cinematographic movie, certainly has to be respected, provided they do not trample upon or infringe the rights of individuals or the society….Intolerance to cultural and artistic expressions is not something that behooves well for a civilized country like ours; but if any particular scene is established to be violating the unexpendable respect required to racial, religious or other groups, certainly, it is for the ‘Board’ (Central Board of Film Certification) to intervene and take necessary action”.
During the subsequent hearing, the court was notified that the scene in question had already been blurred. Consequently, the court declared that its intervention was no longer necessary.
The Court found Varghese’s complaint uncharitable, further remarked that “In the case at hand, the complaint of the petitioner – that the depiction of concealment of a gun in a book that may resemble the Holy Bible, is an affront to the religious faith of Christians – is, in my view, rather uncharitable, because even in the original statement filed on behalf of the ‘Board’, it has been averred that the competent Committee did not feel the scene to be contemptuous of racial, religious or other groups; and that during the review screening, the members of the Committee did not even notice the Bible, because the scene was a fleeting one, without any reference to any particular scripture”,