Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has declined to stay the release of controversial film 'MSG: The Messnger of God', starring Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the chief of religious sect Dera Sacha Sauda.
In its petition, Kalgidhar Sevak Jatha, an NGO based in Mohali in Punjab had sought a ban on the screening of the film in the state and in neighbouring Haryana, saying it would pose a serious threat to the law and order situation in the two states. "The bench has said that it will watch the movie first and assess if it hurts sentiments of the people... The court wants to assure itself that the movie has any effect on the peace and tranquility of the society before passing any orders," said Naveen Saini, counsel for the petitioners who had also presented before the court orders passed by the Censor Board objecting to the release of the film.
'MSG' was banned by the Punjab government last month following protests in towns and cities across north India, including Delhi, over the film which, Sikh groups allege, "glorifies" the Dera leader who has several criminal cases against him. But with the high court refusing to stay its release, the film is now set to hit theatres in Haryana.
The opposition, Indian National Lok Dal is also opposing the release of 'MSG' in the state. Party leaders say the Dera chief faces serious criminal charges including sexual abuse and murder and his portrayal as a hero in the film would have negative effect on the youth.
Welcoming the go-ahead from the court, the Dera spokesperson said that they have already complied with the edits suggested by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal.