SC rejects states' plea on 'Padmaavat'

Last Updated 23 January 2018, 12:18 IST

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to modify its earlier order which had cleared the nationwide release of movie 'Padmaavat' on January 25.

"How can we ban the movie when the CBFC, a statutory body has certified it. Hundreds of people can't come on street and say that there is a law and order problem," a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, after hearing Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the states.

The counsel cited Section 6 of the Cinematography Act to contend that the government can suspend the certification of a film. "If a film is against the public order, the request has to be considered," he said, adding he was not pitching his case beyond constitutionally permissible limits.

The film earlier named 'Padmavati' and directed Sanjay Leela Bhansali was cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) with U/A certificate along with recommendations for "some cuts" on December 30.

"We can't modify the order now. How can we modify the order. Let the first follow our order. If there is any problem, we will see," the bench also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said.

"It would be a ostrich-like response. We are making rules redundant," Mehta contended, indicating towards the large-scale protests having been witnessed in parts of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and other states in view of depiction of 13 th century Rajput queen 'Padmavati' in the movie.

The bench, however, remained adamant. "Our order has to be complied by one and all. You can't create problem and make it a ground to make us modify the order," the bench said.

Senior advocate S P Singh along with advocate Ajay Kumar Singh, appearing for All India Kshatriya Mahasabha' and other grounds, submitted that sentiments of people affected by improper depiction of 'Padmavati' must be considered. They said armymen have observed fast in protest, emotions and sentiments of 'Kshatriyas' must not be dismissed.

The bench, however, pointed out the CBFC had said the movie would carry a disclaimer that it has nothing to do with history or any character. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for film producer, Viacom18 Motion Pictures, pointed out that a state minister was seen telling fringe groups a day that the government has moved the court for review. He along with senior advocate C U Singh, representing a Kerala film society, sought action against the state governments for instigating the groups to protest.

(Published 23 January 2018, 12:16 IST)

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