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'Not hurting sentiments': Gujarat HC lifts stay on 'Maharaj', allows Netflix to release film

Gujarat High Court lifted a temporary stay on Netflix's release of the film 'Maharaj' on Friday, ruling that the film was based on events related to the 1862 Maharaj Libel Case and was not intended to hurt any community's sentiments

Reported by:  PTC News Desk  Edited by:  Shgun S -- June 21st 2024 07:18 PM
'Not hurting sentiments': Gujarat HC lifts stay on 'Maharaj', allows Netflix to release film

'Not hurting sentiments': Gujarat HC lifts stay on 'Maharaj', allows Netflix to release film

PTC Web Desk: Gujarat High Court lifted a temporary stay on Netflix's release of the film 'Maharaj' on Friday, ruling that the film was based on events related to the 1862 Maharaj Libel Case and was not intended to hurt any community's sentiments.

Justice Sangeeta K Vishen, who had barred the film's release on June 13, decided to let Netflix stream it on Friday after watching the film.


“This court arrives at the prima facie conclusion that the film, Maharaj, is based on events that led to the filing of the libel case and is not targeted at hurting the sentiments of the Pushtimargi community. The film had been certified by the Central Board for Film Certification, an expert body after considering the relevant guidelines… The interim relief granted on June 13 has been vacated,” the Court ruled on Friday.

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The film, which was originally scheduled to release on June 14, was put on hold after the high court barred Netflix from streaming it after a group of businessmen petitioned the court on the grounds that it could offend the religious sensibilities of a Vaishnavite community.

The film Maharaj is based on a 2013 book by Gujarati writer Saurabh Shah about a landmark libel case filed in 1862 by a prominent Vaishnavite figure, Jadunathji, against social reformer Karsandas Mulji, who wrote against sexual exploitation by the all-powerful Maharaj.

Mulji's exposé of the exploitative practice in his magazine The Satyaprakash resulted in the well-known Maharaj Libel Case.

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Justice Vishen ruled that the petitioners' primary grievance, that the film defames, and insults the Vaishnavite community, is without merit. 

“Thus his court is constrained to come to the conclusion that the apprehension of petitioners is based on surmises. Since the film is yet to be released for public viewing, thus on mere presumption, the freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution cannot be curtailed."

"The core message of the film as rightly contended by the respondent, is that the film focuses on the social evil and fight for social reform by Karsandas Mulji who himself was from Vaishnavite community," the court said.

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