SC slams states over petition to stall Padmavat release

23 January 2018

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh governments' petition to modify its previous order that allowed the controversial Bollywood film Padmaavat to be creened on 25 january as scheduled.

The state governments of  Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh government and the Karni Sena had sought a ban on the release of Bollywood period drama fiction.

It told the two petitioning states to implement its January 18 order and said it will examine pleas to stop exhibition of the film on case-to-case basis if the situation warrants.

The top court was annoyed at the states' demand to reinstate the ban, saying it was implicit in their arguments that authorities were incapable of ensuring law and order.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra observed that it was best for the governments and others to abide by the apex court order.

''Governments and people must understand that there is a Censor Board certificate and then a Court order…Better abide by it. Don't watch if you don't want to but there can't be a ban on screening,'' the bench said.

It also reiterated that the states must ensure that law and order is maintained.

Tha film has been accused by Rajput groups of distorting history, even though the film is based on a fictional poem by Sufi poet Malik Mohammed Jayasi in the 13th century.

In January last year, members attacked Bhansali and vandalised the set during filming in Rajasthan. The leader of the group had also offered Rs5 vrore to anyone who ''beheaded'' lead actress Deepika Padukone or Bhansali

Following the top court's order, the film is set to release in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil on January 25 after the censor board earlier this month subjected the film to five changes before clearing it for exhibition.

It also reiterated that the states must ensure that law and order is maintained.

Meanwhile, Karni Sena founder Lokendra Singh Kalvi had said that the people will boycott the film if it is released.

However, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has assured that the film would be permitted to be screened as scheduled, following the Supreme Court's directive.

''The Supreme Court's order must be followed. If someone does not want to screen the movie based on the appeal, we accept it. But if anyone wants to screen the film, they will be provided security,'' he said.

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