Word “Adivasi” does not mean people belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes

Delhi High Court: Deciding upon a plea seeking
a ban on the screening of the film “MSG-2 The Messenger”. A single judge bench
comprising  of Rajiv Sahai Endlaw J. rejected  the writ petition on the ground that it
depicts ‘Adivasis’ as anti-national, noting the film’s trailer depicts “a
fantasy to the viewers and has to be understood in that light only.” The Court
held that “adivasi” connotes aboriginal people and not people falling in the
definition of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in Articles 341 and 342 of
the Constitution.

The plea had sought quashing of
the certificate issued by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to the
film and direction to the Ministry of Home Affairs, to issue appropriate orders
to ‘YouTube’ to take down the trailer of the said film from its website on the
ground that the film is contumacious
of a distinct group ‘Adivasis’ and depicts them as anti-national; neither
humans nor animals but “Shaitaans” who have to be converted into “Insaans”,
which cannot be permitted. The plea filed by the petitioner also sought an
interim stay on the release of the Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh starrer and said the
matter should be decided after holding a special screening of the film. The Court
observed that even the Constitution of India in Hindi does not use the word
“adivasi” in Articles 341, 342 and 366 in place of the word “tribe”. The word
used for the word tribe therein is “janjati”. It was thus observed that the
term “adivasi” is not indicative of tribes or scheduled tribes but is
indicative of the earliest inhabitants of any land whether it be in India or
anywhere else in the world.

It was further held that the film
is a work of fiction intended to show its protagonist who in his real life form
also proclaims to be a spiritual leader, in a superhuman form. The Court felt
that only such films can be said to be having propensity of inculcating hatred,
ill-will and violence towards a person or group of persons which show life as
is ordinarily understood by the viewers and not a film which, to the average
viewers’ understanding, is not depicting life but a fantasy or what is surreal.
The bench said, with the vast reach of the electronic and print media in each
and every nook and corner of the country, people can’t be said to be “so
naive as to be not able to distinguish between real and fantasy”.  It was also noted that the subject film from
the trailer is found to be depicting a fantasy to the viewers and has to be
understood in the said light only. In fact, in some scenes in the trailer, the
adivasis are shown with two horns and having the lower body as of an animal and
the upper torso of a human being. The reference in the film to adivasis is not
found to be relatable in any manner to scheduled tribes. [Prem Mardi v. Union of India, decided on 16-09-2015]
Source: Legal news India

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