The Supreme Court on Monday made it clear that its interim order permitting the release of regional film ‘Nanak Shah Fakir’, based on the life of the first guru of the Sikhs, shall remain operational. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it will hear on May 8 the submission and the counter on behalf of the film producer and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex Sikh religious body, on the same.
The movie has already been released in the country, except in Punjab, senior advocate R S Suri, appearing for the producer, told the bench which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.
The bench said the fundamental issue was to see whether the life of Guru Nanak Dev has been portrayed in the right manner or not.Senior advocate P S Patwalia, appearing for the SGPC, referred to the 2003 notification of the apex Sikh body that had categorically stated that no person can be allowed to portray the life of 10 Sikh gurus, their family members and the ‘Panj Pyaras’.
The top court had on April 10 criticised SGPC, the apex religious body of the Sikhs, for imposing restrictions on the film ‘Nanak Shah Fakir’ and had cleared the decks for its nationwide release scheduled on April 13. The apex court had on April 12 refused to accord urgent hearing on the SGPC’s plea while posting it for Monday. A day before the release, another Sikh body Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) had also moved the Delhi High Court against the release of the movie saying it has characterised family members of Guru Nank Dev with humans/actors which is against the principles of Sikh religion. However, DSGMC also failed to get any reprieve as the high court refused to stay the release of movie saying the petition was motivated after the Supreme Court refused to grant any relief.
The apex court had earlier said that once a film has been granted certification by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), its release can only be stalled through lawful means. It had said after the CBFC certification, no group, body, association or individuals can create any kind of disturbance in exhibition of the film.
The order had come on a petition by Harinder S Sikka, a retired Naval officer and the producer of the film, who had approached the apex court claiming that the SGPC had recently banned the release of the film which is based on the life and teachings of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, even after the CBFC cleared it on March 28.