The Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the obstacles for the all-India release of much hyped and controversial movie ‘Padmaavat’ on January 25 and stayed notifications and orders issued by Gujarat Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh prohibiting exhibition of the film in their states.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also restrained any other state from issuing such orders prohibiting exhibition of the movie. The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud observed that the states are obliged to maintain law and order in their respective states.
“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 said in its interim order.
Senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, representing 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 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 on Thursday, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was representing Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana, informed the bench that the notification and order has been issued by states of Gujarat and Rajasthan only.
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.