Supreme Court refuses to ban Pakistani artists from performing in India; tells litigant not to be narrow-minded

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking a complete ban on the employment of Pakistani artists in India.

A Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti upheld a Bombay High in this regard. The plea had called for Indian citizens to be banned from employing or soliciting any work or performance from Pakistani artists.

Before dismissing the case, Justice Khanna remarked that the petitioner should not be so narrow-minded in his thinking.

The Bombay High Court had earlier dismissed a petition in October, leading to the appeal before the Supreme Court.

The High Court had observed that the petition was devoid of any merits since it sought a retrograde step and was against cultural harmony, unity and peace.

Notably, the High Court had also referred to the recent participation of the Pakistani cricket team in the now-concluded Cricket World Cup tournament in India.

The same was possible because of appreciable positive steps taken by the Government of India in the interest of overall peace and harmony, the High Court had observed.

The High Court went on to reason that the petitioner’s idea of patriotism was misplaced. Further, imposing such bans would also violate the fundamental right of Indian citizens to carry on business and trade, the High Court said.

The petition was filed by Faaiz Anwar Qureshi, a self-proclaimed cine worker. He had referred to a ban by the All Indian Cine Workers Association (AICWA) that had decided against engaging Pakistani artists in the Indian film industry.

The AICWA’s resolution was purportedly published in various newspapers and on social media handles.

Qureshi had claimed that not granting the relief sought by him would lead to discrimination against Indian artists who allegedly do not get favourable atmosphere in Pakistan.

He further argued that Pakistani artists would try to exploit commercial opportunities in India, which may prejudice Indian citizens by reducing or depriving them of such opportunities.

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