A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice AR Dave has agreed to examine the plea of Gujarat government which denied exemption of entertainment tax to a movie portraying discrimination faced by a homosexual person, reports Hindustan Times.
The Gujarat government denied the tax exemption to the 2013 film ‘Meghdhanushya – The Colour of Life’ on the grounds that homosexuality is a ‘social evil’.
The government pointed out that the movie came under the exception cited by the state law and the film has been given adult certificate by the Censor Board. Under the state’s law, entertainment tax relief is granted to Gujarati language films made after April 1, 1997, “except those depicting evil customs, blind faith, sati, dowry and other social evils or those against national unity”.
Prior to this, the film’s director Kiran Kumar Rameshbhai Devmani approached Gujarat’s commissioner of entertainment tax, who twice declined him exemption.
The commissioner first asked Devmani to delete dialogues and words such as homosexual or gay as also the English sub-titles. When he refused, he was denied the exemption. The second time, he was told the film’s storyline was unacceptable, “not only in Gujarat but the entire country and the world over”. Then he petitioned the Gujarat high court, following which the court on February 2014 directed the state government to grant the necessary tax exemption to the film.
However, the government immediately challenged the order in the Supreme Court and obtained a stay.
‘Meghdhanushya’, which was selected as India’s entry to the Oscars, is considered to be the first movie to positively represent the gay community on Gujarati silver screen.
The film focuses on a young boy who finds himself attracted to people of his own sex. It portrays the situations they face and conditions they live in. Here’s the trailer of the movie: