In the name of constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression, as well as reminding to respect the government’s constitutional obligation to put out threats of violence – the Supreme Court cleared countrywide release of controversial historic film ‘Padmaavat’.
Four BJP-ruled states: Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh had banned the release of film ‘Padmaavat’ which has been in controversies since two months as Rajput community alleges it to be tampering with history and a dishonour for their Queen Padmini. However, the producer and director of Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor starring film 25, across the country. The hearing of the petition by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and his team was made yesterday by an apex court bench led by CJI Dipak Misra – including Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.
After hearing the petitioners, CJI Dipak Misra favoured the film directors by invoking the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech and expression in any form. The CJI also reminded the state governments about their constitutional obligation and duty to ensure that any violent threats are put out and that rather than banning the release of film, the governments should ensure law and order which would protect the screening of the film. It took very little persuasion for the three judges to fault the four states for refusing to screen the film even after changes recommended by the Censor Board and receiving a U/A certificate.
The Supreme Court slashed out the ban by all four state governments and ordered the state governments to ensure law and order upon the release of the film. The challenge is now for the state and central government to take account of concerns of various communities as well as maintain peace and law and order. The Supreme Court’s verdict on the petition was warmly welcomed by Bollywood as they all supported the fact that it is any filmmaker and actor’s right to have freedom to express the way they want to in the free Indian society.