SC strikes down ban on release of movie ‘Padmavat’ across India
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has cleared the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Padmaavat’. While setting aside the ban ordered on the film in some states, it also barred other states from banning the film.
The court also observed that once a film is given a certification by the CBFC, no state government can prohibit the release of the film. It is the duty of that particular state to maintain law and order.
The Bench said cinemas are inseparable part of right to free speech and expression through the medium of celluloid and guaranteed under Article 19 of Constitution. It also said that it was the Constitutional obligation of every state to maintain law and order.
On Wednesday, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court challenging the ban imposed on the film. The movie is slated for a January 25 release. The governments of Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan said that they are banning the film.
Senior advocate Harish Salve appearing on behalf of VIACOM 18 Media Private Limited, the producers of the film, said that law and order is no ground to ban a film. It is a breach of public trust, he submitted. He further submitted that the order passed by the various states not to allow the movie to screen must be set aside. This is because we have certificates to exhibit the film all over India, Salve also said.
Tushar Mehta appearing on behalf of the state of Rajasthan said that tampering of history is not acceptable. Someday they will show even Mahatma Gandhi in poor light, he said.
Salve however countered the argument and said that the film is based on a poem and the makers are not here to disrespect history. Mehta said that although the film has passed the CBFC test, they are not aware of the situation in all the states.
Salve further submitted that if states are banning a film, then it is destroying federal structure. It is a serious matter. If somebody has a problem, then he or she can approach appellate tribunal for relief. State can’t touch the content of a film, he also said.