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Using ‘Brahma’ in a lighter vein does not hurt religious sentiment of Hindus: Calcutta HC

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Calcutta High Court imposed a token cost of Re. 1 on a petitioner seeking ban on the screening of a Bengali Movie named Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti.

A Single Judge bench presided by Justice Sabyasachi Battacharya while dismissing the petitioners claim that the name of the movie had hurt his religious sentiments observed that  “Gag orders of the sort as prayed for would be a complete antithesis of the liberal principles of a democracy and a democratic religion like Hinduism.”

Petitioner contented that the usage of the expression ‘Brahma’, who is an important part of the Hindu pantheon, with the expression ‘Gopon Kommoti’, which  means ‘secret act’ was violative of morality and had hurt his religious sentiments thus bringing the act within the folds of section 295-A (Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and Section 298 (Uttering words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings of any person).

Respondents on the other hand contented that nowhere in the writ petition has it been explained as to how the expression ‘Gopon Kommoti’, used with the term ‘Brahma’, is malicious or hints at anything filthy. Moreover the expression used as the name of the movie has been used and sung originally for many years by a Bengali band. Hence if the petitioner was not aggrieved   by such expression in the song then there is no reason as to why, all of a sudden, the petitioner was motivated to move this writ petition.

Court observed that, “the name of the movie in question does not hurt the religious sentiment, merely because an expression has been used, apparently in a hilarious way, with the name of the said Hindu deity. If such sentiment is hurt, the petitioner ought to mend his own sentiments and have proper lessons regarding his religion instead of moving courts to harass film-makers unnecessarily.”

Court further drawing balance between fundamental rights said  that, “although there is freedom to practice, preach and profess any religion guaranteed under the Constitution, the right to free speech and expression is also enshrined in the Constitution itself.”

-India Legal Bureau 

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