Padmavati Row: SC Warns “Persons Holding High Offices” Against "Pre-Judging" The Movie [Read Judgment]
“Surely those in high public offices should refrain from making such comments...pre-judging... as it violates the principles of rule of law and prejudice the decision of the CBFC” : SC
The Supreme Court today took serious note of “people holding high public offices” making adverse comments on controversial Bollywood movie ‘ Padmavati ” starring Deepika Padukone and directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali when the film’s clearance is pending before the CBFC, the censor board.
“Such an act is clear breach of law and will only go on to prejudice the decision of the CBFC. It will go on to influence the decision makers”, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said.
The bench however dismissed the PIL filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma seeking a stay on the release of the movie in UK after the producer said they did not have any such plans for the time being.
How can people sitting outside make such comments if the CBFC should clear the movie or issue certificate or not?, the bench asked.
“We are sure they (the leaders) will be guided by the basic premise under the rule of law and not venture outside,” the bench added.
The alleged distortion of the facts in the movie has angered certain right-wing groups. There have been wide-spread protests.
When even courts do not pre-judge an issue, surely those in high public offices should refrain from making such comments as it violates the principles of rule of law, the bench said.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was hearing a plea filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma seeking a plea seeking a direction to the makers of ‘ Padmavati ” not to release the movie outside India. He had alleged it was being released in UK on December 1.
Sharma had alleged that the makers of “Padmavati” misrepresented facts before the court with regard to the Central Board of Film Certification's approval on releasing songs and the promo.
Sharma had argued grave damage would be done to social harmony if the movie is allowed to be released outside India.
He also sought criminal prosecution of the makers of the movie for allegedly misrepresenting facts that the songs and promos were cleared by the censor board. But the SC never entertained the plea.
Earlier SC had dismissed his plea seeking to delete certain alleged objectionable scenes from the movie.
The Bench had observed that the censor board has not yet given certificate to the movie and the court cannot “injunct” a statutory body from doing its duty.
Counsel for one of the respondents had told the court that the film’s promo was released and it has got the requisite approval from the censor board.
Sharma had approached the court, seeking a direction for removal of all scenes of alleged ‘character assassination’ of queen Padmavati from the movie before its release.