The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear on Thursday a plea of the producers of the controversial Deepika Padukone-starrer movie ‘Padmaavat’ opposing the ban imposed on its screening by various state governments.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission of the counsel of Viacom 18 and other producers of the film that the plea be heard urgently as the movie was set for all-India release on January 25.
Governments of Haryana, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand have declared that they will not allow screening of the movie, which also stars Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in lead roles.
The Haryana government, at a recent cabinet meeting, decided to ban the movie in the state.
The producers moved the top court through senior lawyer Harish Salve and advocate Mahesh Agarwal and submitted, in a petition, that the movie has undergone changes including in its title as suggested by the Central Board of Film Certification.
Asserting that the film has been cleared by the CBFC, the plea said 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.
Earlier on two occasions, the apex court had thwarted attempts to stall release of the film, saying it cannot pre-judge a movie before the authorised body CBFC takes a decision.
The top court had on November 28 expressed unhappiness over remarks made by politicians over the movie and asked them to desist from reacting as they could prejudice censor board’s decision.
“When a matter is pending for consideration before the Central Board of Film Certification, how can persons in public authority comment on whether the CBFC should issue certificate or not? It will prejudice the decision of CBFC,” the bench had then said.
Politicians of all hues, including some chief ministers, recently made public statements on the film, with many of them being against it.
The film 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 Karni Sena earlier last year.