A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, on Monday (January 29), dismissed a petition that demanded deletion of certain scenes from the controversial Deepika Padukone-starrer Padmaavat stating that it was now “time to leave this cause”.
The decision of the Supreme Court comes in wake of the delayed release of the big-budget Bollywood film last week amid protests by right-wing Hindutva groups and sections of the Rajput community who had been demanding a ban on the movie. These groups have been violently protesting against the movie directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, claiming that the film’s portrayal of Rani Padmavati of Chittor – who enjoys the status of a goddess among a section of Rajputs – was offensive.
The film was earlier titled Padmavati but following the countrywide protests, especially by groups like Karni Sena, the Censor Board had forced Bhansali and the movie’s producers to change its name to Padmaavat besides directing for several scenes to be deleted.
The apex court had, earlier this month, ruled against the ban imposed by several BJP-ruled states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat on the release of the film. The top court had held that since the Censor Board had cleared the film for pan-India screening, the States could not ban its release. It had also rejected the argument put forth by the States that the film’s release should be stayed because it would disrupt law and order.
However, a day after the film was released advocate ML Sharma had moved the Supreme Court demanding that certain “objectionable scenes” be deleted from it.
On Monday, the apex court bench which also comprised of Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud told Sharma that the film had been cleared by the Censor Board for release and that the court had also upheld its release – in the form approved by the film certification body – across the country.
“We had ordered deletion of some paragraphs from your pleading and that does not affect the movie which has now been cleared by the CBFC in its present form,” the Bench said.
The petitioner, advocate ML Sharma, however argued that the top court’s earlier order of November 20, 2017 which had struck off six paragraphs of his petition had reasoned that the references in the petition were “not conducive to harmony in society”. Sharma said that while the court found the mention of the said details in his petition as being a potential threat to harmony, the same details had been shown in the movie in great detail.
“The court in its order had said what has been struck off by this Court should not be used otherwise then how can it be used in the movie,” Sharma submitted before the Bench, adding that if six paragraphs were chopped off as they were not conducive to harmony, then all the scenes in film “Padmaavat” too should be deleted as they were “capable of creating disharmony”.
However, the Bench rejected Sharma’s arguments and dismissed his petition, telling him curtly that it was “time to leave this cause.”