Supreme Court Rejects Plea to Block Padmaavat Release, Says Won’t Re-hear Case

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Miraj Cinema, a single screen theatre in Balaghat, screened four shows of the movie on Thursday from 2pm to 8pm. Around 1,000 people watched the movie.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a PIL to block the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie Padmaavat.

“We have to function as a constitutional court. Can't block a movie from screening,” said a bench of the apex court.

The PIL, filed by lawyer ML Sharma, question the Censor Board’s certificate to the Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor starrer. He claimed there could be murders and arson if the film is released.

Rejecting Sharma’s argument, the SC said law and order was a job of the states.

“Won't re-hear the case. We have rejected even states’ objections and have decided that a ban isn't permissible,” the court said.

The Supreme Court had cleared Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat and suspended the ban orders by four states on Thursday.

An apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, also restrained all states from banning the Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor starrer. “Creative freedom, freedom of speech and expression can’t be guillotined... artistic freedom has to be protected,” the SC said.

The CJI said that even 'Bandit Queen' passed the test of the court. "In Delhi High Court, I had also given a judgment on 'Dhobi Ghat'. I dismissed the petition to ban the movie by imposing a cost of Rs 25,000 on the petitioner," he said.

The court said that conditional freedom can't wait for a day. This remark came after Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought more time. "Give us a day at least. We will demonstrate the reasons. It is not a case where a man is going to be hanged in a day," he said.

On Wednesday, a bench of the SC 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 had declared that they will not allow screening of the movie, which also stars Ranveer Singh.

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 (CBFC).