New Delhi, Nov 28: The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the Centre on the Padmavati row. While dismissing a PIL that sought a stay on the film, the court questioned the Centre as to how people in ‘responsible positions holding public offices’ could ‘make statements on a movie that has not been cleared by the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification)’.
While dismissing Sharma's petition seeking stay on #Padmavati's release, SC observed, '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'
— ANI (@ANI) November 28, 2017
The judges reiterated that it is the prerogative of the national censor board to review the film and make a decision on whether it is suitable for screening.
The Supreme Court’s comment is directed at the chief ministers of various states opposed the release of of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati and said that the film cannot be allowed to “distort history” and offend the sentiments of Hindu community.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said last week that the film will not be allowed to release in his state even if the censor board cleared it. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that if action is taken against people who are offering bounties on the heads of Bhansali, action should be taken against the filmmaker too for hurting sentiments.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani echoed his Madhya Pradesh counterpart by saying that the state government will not allow Padmavati to release in the state.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, meanwhile, welcomed the film with open arms. Speaking at the India Today Conclave East 2017 in Kolkata, Banerjee said, “If they cannot release it in any other state, we will give special arrangement for Padmavati. Bengal will be very happy and Bengal will be proud to do that.”
The Supreme Court went on to add, “Discussion within the citizenry is a different thing, but how can people in responsible positions issue such statements? The Supreme Court directs Centre to ensure that people in public offices and holding powerful positions shouldn’t comment on a movie which hasn’t been cleared by CBFC.”
All concerned people, holding responsible posts must be guided by rule of law & shouldn't venture into to passing comments on films which haven't been cleared by CBFC. It'll prejudice minds of board members while taking a decision: SC bench #Padmavati
— ANI (@ANI) November 28, 2017
Slamming the Centre, the court further added that such statements (the kind that have been issued on Padmavati) create an atmosphere of prejudice against the movie.”
Bhansali faced many hiccups while shooting the film, but the protests escalated as the film neared its release date. There are conjectures that it “distorts history” regarding the Rajput queen, and Bhansali has denied reports that the movie suggests a romance between Rajput warrior queen Padmini and Alauddin Khilji, the Delhi sultan who was obsessed with her beauty. According to legend, the queen set herself on fire after her husband was killed in battle to ensure that Khilji would not capture her.
The movie’s release date has been deferred from the original December 1 date, but there are efforts from Hindu groups to have it banned.