The BJP-ruled Haryana and Rajasthan governments may appeal against the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the ban on the screening of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial film ‘Padmaavat’.
Haryana's Health Minister Anil Vij said that they might appeal against the decision after going through the apex court judgment.
SC gives green signal to nationwide release of Bhansali's 'Padmaavat', stays ban imposed by 4 states
Vij claimed that the top court gave the decision without listening to their side.
“Supreme Court gave the decision without listening to our side. The SC is supreme, so will abide by the decision. We will also examine the decision and see if there is a scope of appealing against it,” Vij said.
Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said that the government might look for a legal provision to challenge the judgment.
“We respect the Supreme Court’s decision, will abide by it. My department will look for a legal provision, if one is possible, after reading the SC’s decision and then we will move forward,” Kataria said.
On the other hand, protestors in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur vandalised a cinema hall after the Supreme Court passed an order stating that the film be allowed to be screened across the country.
In a major relief to the makers of film ‘Padmaavat’, the Supreme Court today cleared the decks for the all-India release of the movie on January 25.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also stayed notifications and orders issued by Rajasthan and Gujarat governments prohibiting screening of the film in their states. Besides, it restrained any other state from issuing such notifications or orders.
"We direct that there shall be a stay of operation on the notification and orders issued and we also restrain other states from issuing such notifications or orders in this matter," the bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, said in its interim order.
It further observed that the states are obliged to maintain law and order.
Senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, arguing on behalf of Viacom 18 and other producers of the movie, told the bench that states have no power to issue such notifications banning exhibition of a film when the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has given a certificate of release.
The producers had approached the top court challenging the notification and orders issued by four states-- Gujarat Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh-- prohibiting exhibition of the film.
During the hearing today, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was representing Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana, informed the bench that notification and order has been issued by states of Gujarat and Rajasthan only. Governments of Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan had declared that they will not allow screening of the movie.
The producers submitted that the movie has undergone changes including in its title as suggested by the CBFC. Asserting that the film has been cleared by the CBFC, the plea has said that the states cannot impose a blanket ban on a film and its screening can be suspended in a particular area or areas on account of law and order problem, not across the states.
Politicians of all hues, including some Chief Ministers, recently made public statements on the film, with many of them being against it.
The film, which stars Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in lead roles, is based on the saga of the historic battle of 13th century between Maharaja Ratan Singh and his army of Mewar and Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi. The set of the movie was vandalised twice -- in Jaipur and Kolhapur, while its director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was roughed up by members of the Karni Sena last year.
Karni Sena adamant on its stand
Meanwhile, Rajput outfit Shree Rajput Karni Sena, which is at the forefront of the protests against the movie, said that it will not allow the screening of the film and that the group will chalk out its next strategy.
A leader of the group said that they will reach out to cinema hall owners across the country asking them to not show the movie or face consequences.
Who said what
Film fraternity members Shyam Benegal, Manish Mundra, Madhur Bhandarkar and Ashoke Pandit were among those who lauded the Supreme Court decision.
“It is quite clearly a victory of freedom of expression,” Benegal said.
"It's a very big success for the film industry. This judgement has broken the arrogance of the political parties who banned the film thinking they can do it," Pandit said.
"Banning the film 'Padmaavat' even after CBFC certification was a cowardly act by the states. Were trying to do vote bank politics and or shying away from their responsibilities of managing law and order," Producer Mundra tweeted.
Trade expert Komal Nahta said the judgement was "a tight slap on the faces of the states which banned the film". "Red letter day ... the film industry and lovers of cinema all over."
Actor Ayushmann Khurrana hailed it as the "best news of the day which restores faith in our democracy". Filmmaker Bhandarkar welcomed the decision for the movie, which features Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor.
Author Chetan Bhagat said it's a "great decision" as "every story can't be told how bullies want it". Filmmaker Rohit Shetty hoped the movie gets a "great release".