Padmavati row: Those in public office must avoid passing comments, it will influence CBFC decision, says Indian SC

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The bench made the observations while hearing a plea filed by a lawyer, Manohar Lal Sharma, seeking a stay on Padmavati’s release.

Dismissing a fresh plea seeking a stay on the release of Bollywood period drama Padmavati outside India, the Supreme Court Tuesday took a serious note of the statements made by a few individuals holding high office about the film. The top court observed that these statements are violative of the principle of Rule of Law as Censor Board is yet to certify the movie. It is tantamount to pre-judging it, the court noted.

“When matter is pending for CBFC’s consideration, how can persons holding public offices comment on whether CBFC should issue certificate or not? It’ll prejudice decision making of CBFC…All concerned people, holding responsible posts must be guided by rule of law and shouldn’t venture into passing comments on films which haven’t been cleared by CBFC. It’ll prejudice minds of board members while taking a decision,” a Supreme Court bench hearing the plea observed.

The bench made the observations while hearing a plea filed by a lawyer, Manohar Lal Sharma, seeking a stay on Padmavati’s release.

At least five chief ministers, all from BJP-ruled states, had spoken out against the film’s release. Gujarat, citing the law and order situation, became the first state to issue a notification banning the release of film. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, recently, blamed filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali for stoking controversy and accused him of playing with public sentiments. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, after holding an audience with various Rajput groups,  declared that he would prevent the film from releasing in the state. Earlier, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje wrote to I&B minister Smriti Irani to only release the film after omitting certain “objectionable” scenes.

Rajput groups claimed that Bhansali’s Padmavati was shown in poor light in film, an allegation denied by the filmmaker. The film producers Viacom have voluntarily deferred the release date after protest intensified against the film.

On November 10, the apex court dismissed a petition filed against the release of the film.

It was hearing the petition filed by Siddharajsinh M Chudasama and 11 others, which also sought setting up of a committee of eminent historians to check the veracity of the script to prevent any inaccuracy in the portrayal of Rani Padmavati.

 

 

 

Reference:  International Newspapers