The Information & Broadcasting ministry of India along with the organisers of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) appealed to a division of the Kerala High Court on 23 November.

Still from S Durga.

Still from S Durga.

The appeal was against a single bench order which directed them to screen S Durga, a Malayalam film, at the 48th ongoing edition of IFFI which is currently taking place in Goa.  On 24 November however, the Kerala High Court division bench declined to stay the single bench judgement and granted permission to S Durga to be screened at IFFI, according to a News18 report.

The appeal by the I&B Ministry and the organisers stated that Durga, the name of the movie’s protagonist alludes to “a revered principal Goddess in India” and that the earlier prefix given to her — sexy, which was altered and abbreviated to an “S” — had “great potential” to hurt the religious sentiments of people in Kerala and pan-India. The appeal also stated that the prefix could create a law-and-order- situation in India.

“The single bench does not take into account the doctrine of separation of power and completely ignores the definitions carved out by the Constitution between justice delivery system, legislature and executive. The single bench ought to have appreciated that the concern of law and order are best left to be assessed by the executive and not superseded by judicial decisions,” the petition stated, according to an Indian Express report.

S Durga‘s director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan had also filed a writ petition of his own in the Kerala High Court against the I&B Ministry’s decision, acting upon which Justice Vinod Chandran ruled a judgement that the certified version of the movie could be screened at the festival. The ministry and the IFFI organised challenged the order on two counts — the fact that the jury had included the uncensored version of the movie in the list for screening, and that the film had been certified by the regional office of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

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