SC warns politicians not to pre-judge, slam Padmavati

The Asian Age.  | J. Venkatesan

India, All India

Last week, the bench had dismissed a similar PIL from Mr Sharma against the release of the film in India.

A still from Padmavati.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea seeking a ban on the release of controversial film Padmavati in the UK on December 1 and warned politicians and those holding public offices not to make adverse comments, issue threats or pre-judge the movie before it is cleared by the Censor Board.  

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said, “When the matter is pending for CBFC’s consideration, how can persons in power or holding responsible public offices comment on whether CBFC should issue a certificate or not? It will prejudice the decision-making of CBFC. Such an act is a clear breach of law…”

Such statements violate the principle of rule of law as the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) is yet to certify the film, it said, asking the board to take a decision on the certification of the movie with “utmost objectivity”.

Dismissing a PIL filed by advocate M.L. Sharma as “misconceived”, the bench, also comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, said that when even courts do not pre-judge an issue, surely those in high public offices should refrain from making such comments.

Last week, the bench had dismissed a similar PIL from Mr Sharma against the release of the film in India.

The controversial film, which has angered right-wing Hindu groups for allegedly distorting history, is based on the saga of the historic battle of 13th century between Maharaja Ratan Singh and his Army of Mewar and Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the movie director and producer, said the film will not be released abroad until it receives a CBFC certificate.

“There is no intention to do so, as of now,” he said, informing the court that it would harm the movie’s business interest if it is screened abroad before release in India.

The bench expressed “shock” at certain objectionable contents of the petition and termed them “unwarranted” and “scurrilous” and ordered their deletion. The court said it was not imposing costs on the lawyer for filing such a petition as he is a practising lawyer of the apex court.