Mumbai, Sept. 13: Judicial scissors hovered over Bal Thackeray’s new role as a super-censor with Bombay High Court issuing showcause notices to actress Manisha Koirala and filmmaker Sashilal Nair for seeking the Shiv Sena leader’s intervention.
The court has asked the two to explain why contempt action should not be taken against them for taking the dispute over controversial scenes in Ek Chhotisi Love Story to an extra-constitutional authority while litigation was continuing. The two will have to submit their reply by October 5.
The judges, R.M. Lodha and Dilip Bhosale, took strong exception to the conduct of Nair and Manisha for approaching a “third party”.
“We are distressed and disturbed by the conduct of Manisha and Nair taking a sub judice matter to a third person. A party armed with a judicial order has to have such an order enforced through legal process and cannot be allowed to take the judicial order to streets for enforcement.
“The arms of the court are too long to bring the defiant to justice but a litigant in a pending matter cannot be expected to take help of a third party for enforcement of a judicial order or to pressurise the opposite party,” they said.
The court added: “Such conduct on the part of Manisha and Nair was intolerable and unacceptable as it amounts to interference in course of justice and tends to lower the authority of the court.”
Manisha has met the Sena chief twice, asking him to intervene in her fight with Nair.
The filmmaker called on Thackeray on September 10 with an appeal to not take sides without watching the film.
The court had earlier stayed the release of the film, acting on a review petition by Manisha, till October 5. The court today made no comment on the interpretation of the stay order.
Nair and several distributors have contended that the order pertains to only the “fresh prints” which would otherwise have been released after September 6 — the day the court order was issued.
Maintaining that the 75 prints already in circulation were “outside the purview” of the order, some hall owners and distributors have been screening the film to full houses.