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Mumbai: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked all states to comply with its order not to stand in the way of the release of the controversial film ‘Padmaavat’ as it dismissed last-ditch efforts by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh governments to block its January 25 release.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said: “People must understand that the Supreme Court has passed an order and it must be complied with.”
“Our order is to be complied with by one and all. A few hundred people come on the street and create a law and order situation demanding a ban. That can’t be accepted,” Misra said.
“You can advise them not to watch the movie if they don’t like it. We will not modify our order,” the Chief Justice told Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who tried to flag the law and order situation as a ground for blocking the release of the film.
The court also dismissed a plea by Akhil Bharatiya Karni Mahasangh, saying: “We are not inclined to modify order” – clearing the decks for the release of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial.
Admitting that maintaining law and order was the state’s obligation, Mehta appearing for the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh governments urged the court to appreciate the ground situation and threat to breach of peace.
“You can’t make a virtue of creating trouble. You can’t first create trouble and then make a virtue of it,” said Justice Chandrachud obviously pointing to troubles being fanned by Karni Sena.
“We understand your intent. You want us to allow you to ban the film after it is exhibited (on the grounds of breach of peace),” Chief Justice Misra said as ASG Mehta sought some accommodation saying that a situation could arise where after the release of the film, there could be trouble in some parts.
“Let the state honour this order. Rest we will deal with when it comes to it,” Justice Khanwilkar said while taking a dig at the State government that their application was an admission that it (State government) is incapable of ensuring public order.
Justice Chandrachud too took exception to a paragraph (number 9) in the application seeking the modification of the January 18 order which said that the violence continues before and after court’s order that state government will not stand in the way of the screening of ‘ Padmaavat’.
ASG Mehta urged the court to forget the said paragraph as if it did not exist.
The top court had on January 18 paved the way for an all-India release for Bhansali’s ‘Padmaavat’ by staying the operation of orders banning the release of the film by the Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana governments.
Staying the “notifications and orders” banning the release of the controversial film by the three states, the top court had said the remaining states will not ban the screening of the film.
Making it clear that states can’t ban the release of a film cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification, the court had said that “creative art can’t be guillotined”.
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