SC refuses to stay release of Bollywood film “Aiyaary”

The Supreme Court today refused to stay the release of Bollywood film “Aiyaary” by brushing aside an allegation that it was portraying the Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society of Mumbai, which was marred by controversy, in a “bad light”.

Holding that right to freedom of speech and expression was “absolutely a cherished” right under the Constitution, a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice S K Kaul dismissed the petition by the housing society saying it was for the Central Board of Film Certification to l00k into the issue and the board has already granted certification to the film.

The housing society had approached the top court contending that the movie was likely to have an impact on the pending litigations in the matter and affect the reputation of members of the society.

The bench observed that courts of law decide a controversy placed before it on the basis of the material brought on record and not as per the author’s imagination as projected in theatre and celluloid.

It said any restriction on the right to freedom of speech and expression has to be “extremely narrowed”.

The top court also did not accept the submissions advanced by the counsel appearing for the society that disclaimers should be added in the beginning of the film.

The film, featuring Manoj Bajpayee and Sidharth Malhotra in lead roles, released today. “Aiyaary” narrates the fallout and subsequent face-off between two Army officers – a mentor and a protege.

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