The Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking a complete ban on artists from Pakistan to perform or work in India, and observed that in order to be a patriot, one does not need to be inimical to those from abroad, especially from the neighbouring country.

A person who is good at heart would welcome in his country any activity which promotes peace, harmony, and tranquillity within the country and across the border, it said.

A division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Firdosh Pooniwalla on October 17 dismissed the petition filed by one Faaiz Anwar Qureshi, who claims to be a cine worker and artist.

The petition sought the court’s direction to the Union government to impose a complete ban on Indian citizens, companies, firms and associations from employing or soliciting any work or performance, taking of any services, or entering into any association and so on with any Pakistani artists, including its cine workers, singers, musicians, lyricists and technicians.

The court dismissed the petition saying the reliefs it seeks is a retrograde step in promoting cultural harmony, unity and peace, and has no merit in it.

“One must understand that in order to be a patriot, one need not be inimical to those from abroad especially, from the neighbouring country,” the court said.

“A true patriot is a person who is selfless, who is devoted to the cause of his country, which he cannot be unless he is a

person who is good at heart. A person who is good at heart would welcome in his country any activity which promotes peace, harmony, and tranquillity within the country and across the border,” it said.

Arts, music, sports, culture, dance and so on are the activities which rise above nationalities, cultures and nations and truly bring about peace, tranquillity, unity and harmony in nation and between nations, the bench said in the order.

It noted that in the cricket World Cup being held in India, the cricket team from Pakistan is taking part and this has happened only because of appreciable positive steps taken by the Government of India in the interest of overall peace and harmony in consonance with Article 51 of the Constitution of India which is about promotion of international peace and security.

The petitioner also sought other directions like prohibiting granting of visa to Pakistani artists and penal action in case of non-compliance with the ban.

Qureshi in his plea said since the Pakistan cricket team is presently playing in India for the World Cup there is an apprehension that people may misuse this sports event to invite Pakistani singers and artists which would in turn threaten job opportunities of Indian artists.

The bench, however, said it does not find any merit in the petitioner’s apprehension and idea of patriotism. It added that courts cannot pass orders directing the government to frame a law or policy. 

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