ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the federation to submit a comprehensive statement regarding objectionable contents of feature film ‘Maalik’ and also provide its CD.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Qazi Faez Isa, heard the appeal of Federal Secretary Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage against the Sindh High Court judgment. The high court on September 6 had lifted the ban on the screening of ‘Maalik’.

During the proceeding, Justice Qazi inquired from Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti, has he watched the movie. He replied ‘no’. Upon that the judge said then how could he say there are objectionable contents in the film. The DAG told that complaints were received from general public which demanded ban on the movie.

Justice Atta observed that screening of the feature film cannot be banned mere public complaints. He said some solid grounds are required for banning the movie.

Bhatti contended that the federal government is empowered to cancel the certificate issued by the Central Board of Film Censors. However, Justice Qazi said that it is mandatory to conduct an inquiry before cancelling the certificate adding screening of the feature could not be banned through a ‘Royal Decree’.

The court directed the federation to submit its reply by tomorrow and point out the objectionable contents in the feature film besides directing the DAG to provide CD of the film and adjourned the case.

The film was banned after the information ministry’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) declared it “uncertified” under the rules of 1979 Motion Pictures Ordinance as a certain segment of the society thought the movie was “biased against communities” and defamed a chief minister.

Director of the film Asher Azeem challenged the CBFC order in the Sindh High Court. The SHC had observed that the authority concerned had imposed ban on screening of the movie without examining and verifying the complaints.

The court maintained that the act was a violation of the rules while declaring the notification for banning Maalik as null and void.

The film was banned in April last just days after it was released to cinema houses. The Sindh government had first banned it through a notification. The Sindh culture ministry banned it for being “biased against communities” and defaming its chief minister.

The issue was resolved within a day when provincial authorities agreed to revoke the orders on assurance of the film-makers to remove all objectionable material. Then the federal government decided to ban the screening of the film across the country.