The Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the decks for the release of Bollywood movie 'Indu Sarkar' tomorrow by dismissing a plea of a woman, who claimed to be the biological daughter of late Sanjay Gandhi, for a stay on its screening.
A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Dipak Misra, said that the Madhur Bhandarkar-directed movie, which was based on the 1975-1977 Emergency period, was an "artistic expression" within the parameters of the law and there was no justification to stall its scheduled release tomorrow.
Bhandarkar's counsel told the bench, also comprising justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar, cuts suggested by a committee of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) have already been carried out and a disclaimer put in the movie making it absolutely clear that it has no resemblance with any person, living or dead.
"As far as exhibition of the movie is concerned, we are of the convinced opinion that it is an artistic expression within the parameters of the law and there is no justification to curtail the same," the bench said.
The apex court said that the plea filed by the woman challenging the Bombay High Court's July 24 judgement was "devoid of merits".
Priya Singh Paul, who claimed to be the biological daughter of late Sanjay Gandhi, had moved the apex court against the high court's verdict dismissing her plea to quash the certificate granted to the movie by the CBFC.
During the hearing today, her counsel alleged that the film contained "concocted facts" and maligned the image of former prime minister Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay.
The film, scheduled for release tomorrow, has evoked strong criticism and protest from Congress members.
"My biological grand mother was the prime minister. The movie contains totally derogatory facts and it is horrendous for a movie to malign the image of these persons," Paul had claimed.
The Bombay High Court order had said that the woman had not made out any case for the court to interfere and stay release of the movie after the CBFC granted certification to the movie.
The high court had also noted that no acknowledged descendant of Sanjay Gandhi has raised objection to the film.
Bhandarkar's counsel had argued before the high court that the petitioner has no locus standi (not an affected party) to file such a petition, challenging the release of a movie.
The censor board had granted a U/A certificate to the film after ordering 12 cuts, which has been complied with.