The Supreme Court safeguards ‘Kaali’ director Leena Manimekalai from coercive action in relation to FIRs.

Friday, the Supreme Court gave NRI filmmaker Leena Manimekalai protection from any coercive action in relation to FIRs brought against her in four states over her documentary named ‘Kaali’, whose poster sparked controversy for allegedly offending religious sensibilities.

A bench presided over by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud issued a notice on her petition and scheduled the next hearing for February 17. The bench stated that “in the interim, no coercive steps shall be taken against the petitioner either on the basis of the FIRs which have been instituted against her…or pursuant to any other FIR which may have been lodged or may be lodged hereafter in relation to the same film.”

Her attorney informed the court that a watch notice has been issued against Manimekalai, a graduate student in Canada, and that she is likely to face coercive measures.

“She has created a short video titled “kaali” that depicts the goddess. The argument is that there was intended to offend religious sentiments, and the film’s objective and purpose was to show Goddess Kali in an inclusive manner, as stated in the court’s order.

The court questioned the attorney if she had filed a plea under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code to consolidate the many FIRs. The attorney stated that she had not yet filed a motion for the consolidation of the FIRs.

The bench, which also included Justice P S Narasimha, proceeded to issue a notice on this matter. “At this juncture, it appears prima facie that filing FIRs in numerous states will cause the petitioner grave damage. In accordance with the legislation, we are inclined to publish a notification so that all FIRs can be consolidated in one location. The petitioner may then seek her remedies under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the judge noted.

“Accordingly, we shall bring them all together… If we were to transport them to Delhi, you might file a 482 here and seek your remedies,” the CJI informed the attorney.

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Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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