The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a plea to ban Pakistani artists from working in India and advised the petitioner against being narrow-minded on the issue, LiveLaw reported.
The petitioner, a film worker named Faaiz Anwar Qureshi, had appealed to the Supreme Court after the Bombay High Court dismissed his original petition last month. Qureshi had sought a ban on all Indian citizens, companies and associations from working with Pakistani artists, including actors, singers, musicians, lyricists and technicians, Live Law reported at the time.
Qureshi had asked that the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, the Ministry for External Affairs and the Ministry for Home Affairs be directed to issue notifications banning the engagement of Pakistani artists in India and prohibiting travel visas for them.
Qureshi’s petition highlighted resolutions passed by the All-Indian Cine Workers Association, the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association and the Federation of Western Indian Cine Employees in the wake of attacks on Indian security forces by the Pakistani militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohamed, namely the Uri attacks in 2016 and the Pulwama bombing in 2019.
After the Pulwama attack, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s cinema wing had warned filmmakers against working with Pakistani artists.
Dismissing Qureshi’s petition last month, a Bombay High Court division bench of Justice Sunil B Shukre and Justice Firdosh P Pooniwalla observed,“In order to be a patriot, one need not be inimical to those from abroad especially, from the neighboring country…Arts, music, sports, culture, dance and so on are the activities which rise above nationalities, cultures and nations and truly bring about peace, tranquility, unity and harmony in nation and between nations.”
The bench described Qureshi’s petition as having no merit and called it a retrograde step in promoting cultural harmony, unity and peace.
The court also said that resolutions by private associations are not statutory and cannot be enforced through judicial orders, as the petitioner had sought.
Qureshi had also expressed concerns in his petition that allowing the Pakistan Cricket Team to play in the ICC Cricket World Cup in India would lead to the engagement of Pakistani artists, which would take away opportunities from their Indian counterparts, LiveLaw reported.