SC Quashes FIRs Against Priya Prakash Varrier: The Wink Cannot Be Termed ‘Blasphemous’

Published : 1 Sep 2018 8:48 AM GMT
SC Quashes FIRs Against Priya Prakash Varrier: The Wink Cannot Be Termed ‘Blasphemous’Image Credits: Free Journal Press, Livemint

The Supreme Court has quashed the FIRs filed against actor Priya Prakash Varrier for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through her wink in the video clip for a promotional song in the film Oru Adair Love. The Apex Court also canceled the FIRs against the producer and director of the movie.

According to the Hindu, a three-judge Bench led by the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said the Malayalam folk song on which the video was picturized on Malayali Folk song with Varrier, has been in the public domain since 1978, and the song video cannot be termed blasphemous. CJI Dipak Misra further rebuked the complainant by saying, “Somebody in a film sings a song and you have no other job but to file a case.”

The Apex Court had previously put a stay on all criminal proceedings, past, and future, against the actor, director, and producer of the film with regards to the song Manikya Malaraya Poovi in February.

The Controversy

The 18-year-old had shot to fame earlier this year with her wink and smile going viral across the nation. However, the fame was followed by trouble for her and the film’s director Omar Lulu in the form of FIRs registered by Telangana and Maharashtra police filed under Section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings).

The teen had decided to file a petition in the Supreme Court in February against the FIRs. Her lawyer Harris Beeran sought an urgent hearing of her plea alleging threats to her life and that of her family by fringe groups who believed she insulted Islam, following which the top court agreed to hear the matter.

Manikya Malaraya Poovi, literally translating to ‘a pearl flower that is very precious’, is a traditional Muslim song or a Mappila song from the Malabar region of north Kerala. As reported by the NDTV, the actor stated in her petition that the song describes and praises the love between Prophet Mohammed and his first wife Khadeeja. The lyrics to the song were written in 1978, and since then the song has become a part of the Muslim tradition in Kerala.

The actor attributed the entire situation to be a misunderstanding borne out of inaccurate translations of the Malayalam song which also went viral shortly after the ‘Wink’ clip did the rounds on the internet. She termed the allegations against the song of hurting the sentiments of the Muslim community to be baseless as there was no FIR filed in Kerala. “People misunderstood the song in non-Malayalam-speaking states,” the actor stated in her petition.

Pressing her case for creative freedom, she further quoted CJI Dipak Misra from the Padmaavat order in her petition, “When creativity dies, values of civilization corrode.”

Why Did The People File Complaints Against Varrier?

Abdul Muqeeth Khan, an engineering student filed a complaint against the song, claiming it made an objectionable reference to Prophet Mohammed’s wife. Zaheer Uddin Ali Khan, a businessman, also filed a complaint demanding the song be removed from the film or have the lyrics changed.

According to the Scroll, the complainants had claimed winking to be ‘blasphemous’ in Islam, alleging that the visuals in the video clip were a deliberate attempt to malign the image of Islam and that it was intended to outrage the religious feelings and beliefs of the Muslim community.

As reported by NDTV, when the complainants claimed that winking is not permitted in Islam, CJI Dipak Misra said, “It’s only a song!”

The multiple FIRs against the actor, director and producer of the movie were all cancelled, vindicating the controversial wink as an expression of the actor’s right to creative freedom. The Chief Justice further stated that audiences should learn to watch movies with a sense of maturity, honesty and intellectual tolerance.

The Logical Indian Take

Filing frivolous cases for no other reason but to ‘gain mileage’ not only wastes the precious time of the judiciary, but also causes unnecessary suffering to the innocent people involved. The Logical Indian supports the Supreme Court’s decision and urges the authorities to take strict action against the complainants for their groundless claims.

Also Read: Adult Couples Can Live Together Even If Not Married, Says Supreme Court

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