Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that once the film was issued U/A certification by CBFC, states decision to not exhibit Padmaavat would contradict statutory provisions and infringe the fundamental rights of the petitioners.
A day after the Supreme Court allowed the nationwide release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali directed film ‘Padmaavat’ on January 25 by staying the ban imposed by several states, Rajput Karni Sena member Sukhdev Singh announced that Central Film Certification Board Chief Prasoon Joshi will not be allowed to enter Rajasthan. Padmaavat makers, Viacom18, had moved Supreme Court opposing the ban on the period-drama in several states, chiefly Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud agreed to take up the matter after the counsel for Viacom 18 mentioned it for urgent hearing, saying the Deepika Padukone-starrer was set for all-India release on January 25. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that once the film was issued U/A certification by CBFC, states decision to not exhibit the film would contradict statutory provisions and infringe the fundamental rights of the petitioners.
Senior advocates, Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi who were appearing for the petitioners argued that the states had no legal right to prohibit the film after CBFC cleared its release. Harish Salve terming the ban as ‘lawlessness’ said that the Centre should not endorse states’ political compulsions and should direct them to comply with CBFC’s decision. The apex court ruling in favour of the petitioners also observed that the state must be responsible for the protection of the people who will be going to watch the film. The order was ruled keeping light of the fringe groups vandalising halls across the country. On Thursday, Karni Sena had vandalised a cinema hall in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur. The fringe group has declared their defiance and said that they would continue protesting against the release of the film acting against the apex court’s order.
Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea filed by lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma, the plea claimed that the CBFC certificate issued to Padmaavat was illegal. The three-judge bench of Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra while striking down the plea said, “the Court has to function as a constitutional court and it has already yesterday in its interim order said that states can’t block a movie from screening”.
Karni Sena Chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi has openly urged his workers and social outfits to not let Padmavati run and impose curfew if necessary. The fringe group has lately resorted to violent tactics to stop the film from releasing and has declared that the group will also resort to burning cinema halls if needed. The Karni Sena also declared a fresh bout of protests in Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh a few dayus back while a woman Rajput group in the state has vowed to carry out protests from January 19 and will also perform ‘Jauhar’ (self-immolation) if required on January 24.