Supreme Court clears decks for release of movie 'Nanak Shah Fakir'

The Supreme Court on Wednesday cleared the decks for an all-India release of the controversial movie ‘Nanak Shah Fakir‘ on April 13. The top court criticised the apex Sikh body Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) for putting restrictions on the release of the movie, based on the life and teachings of the first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak Dev.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said once the statutory body like the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has cleared the movie, no individual has the right to impede its release. The bench asked all the states to maintain law and order and ensure smooth screening of the film.

The petitioner Harinder S Sikka, a retired Naval officer and the producer of the film, had approached the apex court seeking protection of the Fundamental Right of speech and expression and the propagation of religious views which, he alleged, was being curtailed by certain section of the people having vested interests in scuttling the release of the movie.

The CBFC had cleared the movie on March 28 but, Sikka claimed, he had received a communication on March 30 from SGPC asking him not to release the film.