18 Jan 2018 6:47 AM GMT
During the hearing CJI Misra said "We are concerned that a film is being banned from being exhibited...expression of a creative content..my constitutional conscience is shocked".Justice Chandrachud chipped in to say: "valuable constitutional rights are at stake"Emphasising on "right to freedom of speech and expression", the Chief Justice Dipak Misra-led bench of the Supreme Court today stayed...
During the hearing CJI Misra said "We are concerned that a film is being banned from being exhibited...expression of a creative content..my constitutional conscience is shocked".
Emphasising on "right to freedom of speech and expression", the Chief Justice Dipak Misra-led bench of the Supreme Court today stayed the operation of the notifications of the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan and the decision of the states of Madhya Pradesh and Haryana to ban the screening of the Film 'Padmavat'.
"It has to be borne in mind, expression of an idea by any one through the medium of cinema which is a public medium has its own status under the Constitution and the Statute. There is a Censor Board under the Act which allows grant of certificate for screening of the movies. As we scan the language of the Act and the guidelines framed thereunder it prohibits use and presentation of visuals or words contemptuous of racial, religious or other groups. Be that as it may. As advised at present once the Certificate has been issued, there is prima facie a presumption that the concerned authority has taken into account all the guidelines including public order", said the Bench.
The movie is expected to be released on January 25. The order came on a petition filed by its producers Viacom Productions.
The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice D. Y. Chandrachud and Justice A. M. Khanwilkar on Thursday granted an interim injunction, prima facie in nature and in view of the Fundamental Right of Freedom of Expression in Article 19(1), against decision of four states to ban the release and public exhibition of the film Padmavat.
Senior Counsel Harish Salve, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, referred to the judgement of the Supreme Court in Prakash Jha Productions v. UOI in so far as it interprets section 6 of the UP Cinema (Regulation) Act of 1955, dealing with the power of the state government to suspend the public exhibition of a film, as “When it is said that a film is being publicly exhibited, it definitely pre-supposes a meaning that the film is being exhibited for public and in doing so if it is found to likely to cause breach of peace then in that event such a power could be exercised by the State Government. Such an extra-ordinary power cannot be exercised with regard to a film which is yet to be exhibited openly and publicly in a particular State. This view that we have taken is also fortified from the use of the word 'suspension' in the said section”.