Nanak Shah Fakir: SC Refuses To Deliberate On Rights Of A Religious Denomination Under Article 26(b)

Hearing an utility on behalf of the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) for holiday of its period in-between order dated April 10 allowing the exhibition of the movie Nanak Shah Fakir, the Supreme Court bench headed by way of Chief Justice Dipak Misra refused to increase the scope of the main writ petition to make a decision the contents of the proper beneath Article 26(b) of a non secular denomination to regulate its personal issues in affairs of faith. “In this petition, we shall not deliberate on the essential practices of a religion…the film in question is only spreading awareness about the philosophy of Guru Nanak, to press his teachings on young minds…Prima facie, there is no connection with the reality; there is only a projection of Guru Nanak on celluloid…if such projection hurts his position in the society, then it is a different issue…,” noticed the Chief Justice, refusing to recall the impugned order.

Senior recommend PS Patwalia, showing on behalf of the SGPC, complex, “There are two bodies- one, the Akal Takht, which is the highest spiritual body, and secondly, the SGPC, which is a statutory body constituted under the Sikh Gurudwaras Act of 1925…in the Sikh religion, we have no living God…there is a resolution dated July 10, 2003 of the SGPC, restraining any living person from playing any of the ten ‘Guru Sahiban’, their family members or the ‘Panj Pyaras’ in a depiction…on April 7, 2015, there was a reiteration of this resolution in the particular context of the film ‘Nanak Shah Fakir’…these resolutions have not been placed before Your Lordships…after the CBFC and its examining committee certified the film for exhibition, on April 6, the Akal Takht decided that the movie ought to be banned…this fact was not brought to Your Lordships’ notice…Subsequently, on April 7, the SGPC repeated that the movie may not be screened…”

“The movie has not been released so far…but this is not a matter that they (the producers) should have brought to the courts…this should have been resolved within the community…the issue herein is, I believe, covered under the right of Sikhs to manage their own religion as per Article 26(b)…besides, the matter includes an element of concealment in so far as the court was not informed of the aforesaid resolutions…”, he persevered.

In reaction to a question in that behalf by way of the Chief Justice, he mentioned, “there has been no depiction on the celluloid of any Sikh Gurus till date…there has only been one animated film by the name of ‘Chaar Sahebzaade’…”
The senior recommend additionally objected to the usage of the phrasing ‘private body’ in recognize of the Akal Takht and the SGPC. The Chief Justice agreed to explain that the similar are “recognised bodies” and their standing isn’t being wondered.

On Monday, veteran legal professional and senior recommend Ram Jethmalani, based on the SGPC’s argument, submitted, “every religion has its rules but these rules have no legal force…can religious principles acquire the character of legal injunctions? Can we bar a movie that has Rs. 30 crores riding on it because of the rule that no human being may play the role of the revered Sikh Guru? There may be discussions in this behalf at the relevant forum but there cannot be any legal relief…they may use their political or public influence but cannot come to the court of law…”

Senior recommend RS Suri, showing for the primary petitioner and the manufacturer of the movie, submitted, “The sub-committee of the SGPC had directed that certain rectifications may be brought about in the film…that in place of the actor playing Guru Nanak, light may be shown…that the philosophy of Guru Nanak may be represented through words of ‘Bhai Mardana’…that the scene involving the smoking of the ‘hookah’ may be deleted…that the film end with the prevailing words ‘Nanak Shah Fakir, Hindu Ka Guru, Musalman ka Pir”…some of these changes have been duly effected.”

“This was only the intervening document. The final decision is that of April 6,” objected Patwalia.
Suri additionally drew the eye of the bench to a letter addressed by way of a member of the Akal Takht mentioning that movie is “praiseworthy” and a “fine example of the promotion of the Sikh faith”, and that the movie has been conferred the National Award for depicting nationwide integrity. He asserted that the movie represents the revered Sikh Guru in excellent mild, as being antagonistic to casteism, and that the film has gained commendable reaction from Malaysia, Hong Kong and areas in Africa. He additionally expressed the willingness to make such additional changes to the film because the non secular professionals might counsel.

In context of the National Award, the Chief Justice remarked that the movie has been duly exhibited to a jury and refused to put weight on Patwalia’s rivalry that it was once now not exhibited sooner than the Sikh neighborhood and that the mentioned award was once gained within the class for ‘regional films’.

“Your Lordships have now given the power to contravene the stipulations of the religious bodies”, insisted Patwalia, which declare the bench declined to entertain.

“We cannot enforce a rule that no one may write a book on a religion or make a painting so based…these are secular matters…you could only make a submission that the image (of Guru Nanak) is being degraded in the depiction…,” famous Justice DY Chandrachud.

“You may also make the submission that the actor playing Guru Nanak may not be given any credit…he shall be an abstract man…he may be regarded as ‘X’…,” added the Chief Justice.
“The question is of the glory of Guru Nanak…”, concluded the Chief Justice, scheduling the topic for listening to in May.

Updated: April 16, 2018 — 9:47 am
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