SC rejects plea to delete objectionable scenes from ‘Padmavati’

RSTV Bureau

File Photo of Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi.

The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition that sought to delete some alleged objectionable scenes from the Bollywood movie ‘Padmavati’. The apex court called the petition “premature”.

The historical film is based on the life of Rajput queen Padmavati and the plea sought to remove all scenes that allegedly assassinated the character of Queen Padmavati.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra observed that Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) hadn’t yet given a certificate to the movie and the apex court could not “injunct” a statutory body from doing its duty.

“We have been apprised that the film has not yet received the certificate from the CBFC. In view of the aforesaid, our interference in this writ petition will tantamount to pre-judging, which we are not inclined to do,” the bench said.

The bench also struck off certain paragraphs from the plea filed by advocate ML Sharma, saying that the pleadings in a court “are not meant to create any kind of disharmony in the society”.

During the hearing, Sharma raised the issue of songs of the movie being released without a proper certification from CBFC. He alleged that a part of the film had already been released despite the fact that CBFC had returned the filmmaker’s incomplete application.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing one of the respondents, countered the submissions and said the film’s promo was released with requisite CBFC approval.

To this, the bench observed, “Censor Board has a definite role. They will see the guidelines which are there in the Act (Cinematograph Act). That is their duty. We are on other things. Should the Supreme Court intervene in stopping a movie? CBFC is a statutory body. How can the court injunct a statutory body not to exercise its duty?” It also said the court cannot direct the CBFC to decide a matter in a particular manner as it was for the board to take a call.”

On Sunday, Viacom 18, the makers of the film, had announced that the film’s release had been deferred. It was originally scheduled to be released on December 1.

Several protests were held in Rajasthan and neighboring states to stop the film from being released. In the past, the set of the movie was vandalised twice — in Jaipur and Kolhapur — and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was beaten up by members of Karni Sena.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the film will not be allowed to be screened in Madhya Pradesh if historical facts in the film were”distorted”.

“We will not tolerate any distortion of historical facts. The entire country is speaking in one voice that historical facts were distorted…If there are scenes breaching the honour of queen Padmavati, then the movie will not be allowed to be exhibited on the land of Madhya Pradesh,” said Chouhan while speaking to the Rajput community.

(With inputs from PTI)