NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim protection from any coercive steps to filmmaker Leena Manimekalai in multiple FIRs lodged against her over the poster of her documentary film showing goddess ‘Kaali’ smoking a cigarette. A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha issued notice to the States and directed that no coercive steps shall be taken against the filmmaker either on the basis of the FIRs which had already beeen lodged or on the basis of FIRs which may be lodged in relation to the ‘Kaali’ poster row.
The apex court took into note that at this stage, the lodging of FIRs in multiple states may cause serious prejudice to the filmmaker and issued notice to the states on a plea for consolidation of all FIRs in one place. “Issue notice to the respondents. List on February 17, 2023. No coercive steps shall be taken 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 to the same matter,” the apex court stated in its order.
Manimekalai has approached the filed top court seeking protection and quashing of the multiple FIRs registered against her in various States.The poster of documentary depicts the Hindu goddess ‘Kaali’ smoking a cigarette in a poster. The plea also sought clubbing of all the FIRs registered against her in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttarakhand over the poster.The filmmaker has also sought a stay of the criminal proceedings emanating from these FIRs.
Manimekalai has said her attempt as a creative filmmaker was not to offend the religious sentiment of anyone but to depict the image of a radically inclusive goddess. She said she also received open calls for violence against her, her crew, and her family, after she tweeted a poster of her film, Kaali. Manimekalai has challenged the proceedings against her in the district courts of Hazratganj in Lucknow, Ratlam, Bhopal, and Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Haridwar in Uttarakhand, and Delhi.
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