The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim protection from coercive action to filmmaker Leena Manimekalai in connection with FIRs registered against her in various states over a controversial poster of her upcoming documentary film “Kaali” which showed goddess Kali smoking a cigarette and holding a pride flag, Live Law reported.
A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha issued notices to the Centre, and states of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand governments where FIRs were registered against her on her plea.
The apex court directed that no coercive steps shall be taken against the filmmaker either on the basis of the FIRs which had already been lodged or on basis of FIRs which may be lodged pertaining to the “Kaali” poster.
“A look out circular has also been issued against the petitoner. Issue notice to the respondents. List on February 17th. No coercive action shall be taken against the petitioner in respect of the FIRs lodged against the petitioner either on the basis of FIRs or pursuant to any FIR which may have been lodged or may be lodged in relation of the same matter,” the CJI said, as quoted by Live Law.
Advocate Kamini Jaiswal, appearing for Manimekalai, submitted that the petitioner is a graduate student at York university in Canada and that there is no intention to hurt religious feelings, adding that object of the film was to “depict the goddess in an inclusive sense”.
“At this stage, it may be noted that lodging of FIRs in multiple case may be of serious prejudice. We are inclined to issue notice so that all FIRs can be consolidated in one place in accordance with law,” the bench said.
The plea filed by Manimekalai sought to club and quash the FIRs registered against her different states of India over the poster. The filmmaker has also sought an ex-parte stay on criminal proceedings emanating from these FIRs.