Allahabad HC restrains Al Jazeera from telecasting film 'India....Who lit the Fuse?'

The petition claims that the film portrays the "Muslim minority of living with a sense of fear in India and presents a disruptive narrative creating a sense of public hatred"

Allahabad High Court (NH File Photo)
Allahabad High Court (NH File Photo)


The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday restrained Al Jazeera Media Network Private Ltd from telecasting the film India....Who lit the Fuse? in the country, considering the "seriousness" of allegations made in a PIL against the movie.

Al Jazeera is a global news channel based in Doha, Qatar.

A bench comprising Justice Ashwani Kumar Mishra and Justice Ashutosh Srivastava passed the order on the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Sudhir Kumar who argued that the film, if released/broadcast, is likely to create hatred amongst different religious denominations and thereby destroy the secular fabric of India.  

Prayers were also made to command the respondents 1 to 3 i.e. Union of India, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Central Board of Film Certification to review and certify the film in question before its telecast/broadcast.

The court also directed the Central government and the authorities constituted under it, to take appropriate measures warranted in law to ensure that the film is not allowed to be telecast/broadcast unless its contents are examined by the authorities, duly constituted in law for the purpose, and necessary certification/authorisation is obtained from the competent authority.

Considering the seriousness of allegations made in the writ, which are likely to have far reaching consequences, the petition does require consideration, the court observed.

"Considering the evil consequences that are likely to occur on the telecast/broadcast of the film in question, we are of the view that the broadcast/telecast of the film in question be deferred pending consideration of the cause in the present petition," it said.

 "In view of the deliberations and discussions held above, we restrain the fifth respondent i.e. Al Jazeera from telecasting/broadcasting/releasing the film India....Who lit the Fuse? till the issues raised in the present petition are adjudicated after notice to the fifth respondent," the court said.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that though Al Jazeera is only a news organization but it has exceeded its ambit to broadcast films, position as investigations on its news channel with the singular intention of creating distress and endangering public order in the country.

As per the petitioner, he has reliably learnt from print and social media reports that the film portrays the Muslim minority of living with a sense of fear and presents a disruptive narrative creating a sense of public hatred, which is far from reality.

The high court fixed July 6 as the next date of the hearing.

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