Blasphemy

Indian Supreme Court: Wink During Mohammed-Themed Song in Movie Not Blasphemous

|The Volokh Conspiracy |


Commenter Martinned noted, on the Unholy Toledo thread, that the Indian Supreme Court has stopped a possible blasphemy prosecution for a wink during a Mohammed-themed song in a movie:

The Supreme Court on Friday quashed the FIRs ["First Information Reports," which is to say the initial charges brought to the police] against Malayalam actress Priya Varrier, who shot into limelight after her 'wink' video went viral, lodged by Muslim groups who felt the song 'Manikya Malaraya Poovi' hurt their religious sentiments.

Priya and the film's Director had moved the SC challenging the criminal proceedings initiated at Telengana and Maharashtra against them. FIR against the Director also has been quashed. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said the Malayalam folk song, on which the song has been picturised with Varrier, has been in the public domain since 1978 and the song video cannot be termed as blasphemous.

The bench said there was nothing to show that the wink had hurt anybody's religious sentiments too. The song describes and praises the love between Prophet Mohamed and his first wife Khadeeja….

The court opinion (short and pretty readable) is here; an excerpt:

[T]he picturization of the said song solely because of the 'wink' would not tantamount to an insult or attempt to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of a class of citizens…. We do not perceive that any calculated tendency is adopted by the petitioners to insult or to disturb public order to invite the wrath of Section 295A of the IPC.