SC declines states' plea against Padmaavat

SC declines states' plea against Padmaavat

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined a plea by the Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan governments, and others seeking a modification of the January 18 order clearing the hurdles for the release of 'Padmaavat'.

"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 public order, the request has to be considered," Mehta said, adding he was not pitching his case beyond constitutionally permissible limits.

The film, earlier named 'Padmavati', 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 them 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 like an ostrich-like response. We are making rules redundant," Mehta contended, indicating towards the large-scale protests in parts of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and other states.

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

"People can't come on to the streets and say law and order problems, ban the movie. Let us not come to a state where the exhibition of a movie, despite certified by the Censor Board, is crippled," the bench said.

Senior advocate S P Singh along with advocate Ajay Kumar Singh, appearing for All India Kshatriya Mahasabha and other groups, submitted that sentiments of people affected by the improper depiction of 'Padmavati' must be considered.

They said army men have observed fast in protest, emotions and sentiments of 'Kshatriyas' must not be dismissed.

The bench, however, pointed out that 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 the producer Viacom18 Motion Pictures, pointed out that a state minister was seen telling fringe groups that the government has moved the court for review.

Rohatgi, along with senior advocate C U Singh, representing a Kerala film society, sought action against the state governments for instigating the groups.

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