The Supreme Court on January 20, 2023 protected filmmaker Leena Manimekalai from coercive action on the basis of multiple FIRs filed in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh over the poster of her short film titled Kaali.
“The institution of FIRs in multiple States would be a matter of serious prejudice to the petitioner,” a Bench of Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and P.S. Narasimha observed in its order.
Issuing notice to the Centre and States, the court said it would consider the question of consolidating the FIRs in one place so that she could approach a High Court to have them quashed under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Advocate Kamini Jaiswal, for the filmmaker, argued that a look-out circular had been issued against her client and she ran the risk of being subjected to coercive proceedings on the same film in diverse States.
The court said its protective order would not only cover the six FIRs filed across the four States but also encompass other FIRs which may have been filed or which may be filed in future on the same film.
The court recorded the submission by Ms. Jaiswal that her client did not have any intention to hurt religious feelings with the depiction of the Hindu goddess, and the purpose of the film was inclusive in nature.
The court posted the case for further hearing on February 20.