The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition seeking the cancellation of the certificate given to Hindi film Padmaavat by the Central Board of Film Certification. The court rejected the petition’s claim that the film was a threat to law and order, PTI reported.
The film’s release has been caught in the middle of a controversy after right-wing groups protested against it and alleged that it had historical inaccuracies. It is scheduled for release on January 25.
The bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said: “Maintaining law and order is not our job. That is the job of the state. Prayer rejected.”
Lawyer ML Sharma had filed the petition, asking for the film’s certificate to be revoked on various grounds, including the provisions of the Cinematograph Act.
“Yesterday, we have passed a reasoned order,” the bench said, referring to the court’s order on Thursday, ruling against any ban on the film’s screening in any state.
The Supreme Court had on Thursday set aside the notification passed by the governments of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat against the release of the film. Producers of the film, Viacom18, had moved the Supreme Court challenging the ban.
“Creative freedom, freedom of speech and expression can’t be guillotined... artistic freedom has to be protected,” the bench said on Thursday.
Repeated protests and threats of violence by Rajput groups, led by the Rajput Karni Sena, stalled the movie’s release and delayed its certification. The censor board had appointed a panel of historians to look into the claim that the film contains historical inaccuracies. The movie was finally cleared with a few changes on the condition that Bhansali and Viacom18 Motion Pictures change the title from Padmavati to Padmaavat to align it closer to its source material.
Starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, the historical drama is based on the 16th century poem of the same name by Malik Muhammad Jaisi.