The Sindh High Court has dismissed a plea requesting ban on the movie Joyland, Naeem Sahoutara reports for Dawn.

The petitioner requested a ban on the movie, stating that the movie depicts a relationship between a married man and a transgender woman, and that the plot is against the Constitution and Islamic principles.

The bench was headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Shaikh.


“In our view, where a cinematic work has passed through the censors, who have examined its content and cleared it for release with an appropriate certification, an individual cannot be allowed to trump that decision through a court proceeding based on his conception of morality. Indeed, it is not the function of the Court under Article 199 to make a moral judgment so as to curtail the freedom of speech and expression of a filmmaker, as safeguarded under Article 19 of the Constitution,” stated the detailed order passed by a division bench.

“On the contrary, the default position of the Court under Article 199 ought to be that of fully safeguarding the fundamental right by giving as expensive an interpretation to Article 19 as possible, and in that event of a restriction being imposed by the Board or any other authority that may be competent in that regard, testing the reasonableness of that restriction stringently, so as to ensure that the same is “reasonable” in the strictest conceivable sense.”

“Looking to the matter at hand, we are confident that Islam, being the great global religion that it is, is strong enough to withstand a cinematic work portraying a purely fictional account of a relationship humanizing a transgender character, and are equally sanguine that our society is not so weak as to crumble as a consequence,” the order stated.