The Kerala High Court in the case of Peggy Fen v/s Central Board of Film Certification and others ruled that the Courts cannot interfere with the Artistic freedom of Filmmaker unless it violates any law.
“Churuli” is a Malayalam movie directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery and co-produced by Chemban Vinod Jose. Chemban Vinod Jose is also acting in this film. Joju George and Jaffor Idukki Ammakunnel are the other actors. The prayer in this writ petition is to remove the film from the Over The Top (OTT) platform.
The issue raised in this case was whether the exhibition of “Churuli” film violates any existing law enacted to ensure public order, decency or morality.
The petitioner, Peggy Fen contended that the language used by the characters in the film Churuli are obscene and filthy and hence, opposed to public order, decency and morality. It is also contended that the releasing of these types of movies in OTT platforms will attract criminal offences and is also a violation of statutory provisions of the law in this field.
The respondents contended that the inmates of “Churuli” are using colloquial language that contains filthy and obscene language.
The single bench of Justice P.V.Kunhikrishnan noted that the Court, invoking the powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, cannot dictate the filmmaker to use only Valluvanadan slang Malayalam or Kannur slang Malayalam or Trivandrum slang Malayalam by the characters in the movie. While deciding the issue the artistic freedom of a filmmaker should be kept in mind.
The Court found it beneficial to get the opinion of the State Police Department and passed the interim orders.
The court in its interim order said the State Police Chief, Government of Kerala, is suo motu impleaded as additional respondent. The registry will carry out necessary amendments in the cause title. The Government Pleader takes notice of the additional respondent.
The court added, “the State Police Chief will constitute a team to watch the movie “Churuli” which is available on the OTT platform. The team should be constituted within three days from the date of receipt of this order.”
“The team should watch the film and verify whether there is any statutory violation or any criminal offence is made out. The team, after watching the film, will prepare a report, and the respondent, based on the same, will file a statement within two weeks from the date of constituting the team mentioned above. The report of the team also should be produced before this Court. The respondents are free to file counter-affidavits in the meanwhile,” the court ordered.