SC reminds leaders of law in Padmavati controversy

Padmavati, saying these breached the principle of rule of law. In the melee that the controversy has now become, the apex court’s comments came on a day that Bihar joined Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in banning the film. Adding to the mix was the call for a nationwide ban by the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, a caste-based organisation that has spearheaded—sometimes with violence and threats of violence—the movement against the film for its alleged ‘distortions of history’. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said: “We are governed by the rule of law. When the matter is pending before the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for grant of certificate, nobody holding a responsible position should comment as it would amount to violation of the principle of the rule of law.” Taking exception to comments by leaders cutting across the political spectrum, the court said, “When a matter is pending for consideration before CBFC, how can persons in public authority comment on whether CBFC should issue certificate or not? It will prejudice the decision of CBFC.” “They are violating the principle of rule of law”, the court said further observing, “We say nothing more, nothing less for the time being.” The court also junked a petition by lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma objecting to the offshore release of the film Padmavati.  Taking exception to some portions of Sharma’s petition, the court said it was “unwarranted and scurrilous”. Senior counsel Harish Salve, who appeared for Padmavati director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, had pointed to the objectionable portion of the petition by Sharma. On November 20, the court, while rejecting Sharma’s plea for the blocking the release of Padmavati within the country, had said: Padmavati has not yet received certification from CBFC. In view of this, our interference will tantamount to pre-judging the matter. We don’t intend to do so.” Karni Sena ups ante to nationwide ban The Rajput Karni Sena, an organisation of the Rajput community, on Tuesday urged a nationwide ban on Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati. “Six states have already announced that they will not release the film in their states. We welcome it. Till the new release dates are announced, we want at least 20 CMs to do it. Nationwide ban is in the jurisdiction of government of India as per a section in the Cinematography Act. The Centre can ban a film even before or after clearance by the censor board,” Lokendra Singh Kalvi, founder-patron of the Rajput Karni Sena, said in Jaipur. “We request the Prime Minister to intervene and ban the film,” he said. Kalvi also demanded a high-powered and thorough probe into the death of Chetan Saini, whose body was found hanging on the outer walls of the Nahargarh Fort here on Friday morning, with messages against the film Padmavati scribbled on nearby rocks. “Whether it was a suicide or a murder, I am not interfering into that… But it was very sad. I want to point out two more points… Who wants to disturb communal harmony of Jaipur and second, a direct threat to Karni Sena that “Hum putle nahin jalate… latkate hain” (We don’t burn effigies, we hang them)… All this seems to be an attempt to divert attention from the Padmavati issue,” he said. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday ordered a ban on Padmavati in the state. The Chief Minister ordered concerned officials to ban the release after  BJP MLA Neeraj Kumar Bablu demanded it in a letter. The ban on would be in place “till controversy surrounding it gets over”. The ban by Bihar, ruled by a JD-U-BJP coalition, follows that by BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Several groups, mainly Rajput, have been demanding a ban on Padmavati, starring Deepika Padukone with Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in key role The film was earlier scheduled to be released on December 1, but it has been deferred.


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(IANS) // ]]>