(G.N.S) Dt. 23
The Supreme Court (SC) today pulled up Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh while dismissing their plea asking the court to reconsider lifting the ban on ‘Padmaavat’ in their states citing. The Supreme Court today refused to modify its earlier order which had cleared the decks for the nationwide release of ‘Padmaavat’, saying people must understand that orders of the top court have to be “abided with”.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said this while rejecting pleas filed by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh seeking modification in its January 18 order. The Supreme Court had paved the way for the nationwide release of ‘Padmaavat’ on January 25 by staying the ban on the screening in states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. The SC then directed the two states to implement its order from last Thursday allowing screening of film and asked them to take steps to maintain law and order.
The 2 states had cited potential law and order issues during the screening of the controversial film. To that, the SC said the states themselves created trouble to begin with and then approached the apex court seeking a ban on the film. “People must understand that the Supreme Court has passed an order. They must abide by it. It is the obligation of the states to maintain law and order,” the bench also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said. “We are not inclined to modify our order,” the bench said while dismissing the plea. It asked the states to follow its order and gave them the liberty to approach it again “if the situation arises”.
The bench also dismissed the applications filed by Shree Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena, which has been staging protest in several states against the release of the movie, and Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha, seeking to stall the exhibition of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie. The apex court had earlier restrained other states from issuing any ban orders on the Deepika Padukone-starrer movie.
Maintaining that states were under constitutional obligation to maintain law and order, the top court had said this duty also included providing police protection to persons involved in the film, its exhibition and the audience.
Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan yesterday moved the apex court seeking it modify its earlier order lifting the ban on the screening+ of the film. They said that because maintaining law and order is their constitutional duty, prohibiting the screening of a film to prevent untoward incidents is also part of that same duty.
Last Thursday, the apex court lifted a ban on the film by Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. At the time, it said it is the various governments’ job to deal with any potential law and order issues arising from the release of the film. That isn’t the job of the court, it said.
The SC even restrained other states from issuing any order to prohibit the screening of the film.The producers and the director of the film petitioned the SC against the ban.
Earlier, the four states argued that the censor board, while clearing a film, scrutinised filmmaking and ethical aspects but state governments had to factor in possible law and order challenges arising from volatile social dynamics.
The top court when clearing the film last Thursday spoke at some length about the sanctity and inviolability of the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression, which it reminded everyone is a constitutionally guaranteed right.
On Friday, a day after it cleared the film, the SC was again petitioned against its screening. It refused to hear the petition.
Several fringe groups oppose ‘Padmaavat’ alleging it distorts history or shows the Rajput community in bad light. Despite the censor board clearing the film’s release, the BJP-ruled states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh banned its screening.
The film, starring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in lead roles, is based on the saga of a historic 13th century battle between Maharaja Ratan Singh and his army of Mewar and Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi.