Delhi High Court rejects plea alleging glorification of Sati in Padmaavat

The Delhi High Court today rejected a plea seeking penal action against the producers and the director of Bollywood movie ‘Padmaavat’ for alleged glorification of the practice of ‘sati’.

‘Sati’ is an obsolete funeral custom where a widow immolates herself on her husband’s pyre and the law prohibits it.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar dismissed the plea saying the petitioner should have approached the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) at an appropriate time.

The high court also said in its detailed order that the Board has exercised its discretion carefully and not given a ‘U’ certificate for unrestricted viewing but granted ‘U/A’ certification.

“As on date, the film stands released as well. The film stands released without any complaints and it is already in public domain. If the petitioner was having any complaint with regard to the issue raised in his writ petition, he should have made a complaint before the CBFC at an appropriate time. We find no merit in the petition. The same is dismissed.” the court said.

The bench also said that writs cannot be issued against artistic works premised on individual perceptions.

The entire writ petition is premised on the sole submission that it has elaborately choreographed the Sati or Jauhar scenes in the history of Indian cinema. The writ petitioner does not even state at all that the film is supporting, justifying or propagating the practice of sati . It is therefore, not possible to hold that the film would invite penal action under the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987.

A PIL by social activist Swami Agnivesh had sought deletion of the scenes that depict the practice of ‘sati’.

The court had earlier observed that according to one of the disclaimers in the film, it is a work of fiction and therefore, it does not show any intention or animus on the part of the producers or director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, to propagate the practice.

The petition, filed through advocate Mehmood Pracha, had sought directions to the Delhi Police to lodge FIR against Ajit Andhare, one of the producers, and Bhansali.

Central government standing counsel Manish Mohan, who appeared for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the censor board, had opposed the plea, saying the movie was certified for public viewing after considering all the aspects.

The court had said that in the present day and age, it was “hesitant to accept” the petitioner’s claim that someone would follow such a practice just by seeing the movie.

The high court on January 25 had rejected a Rajasthan-based group’s plea seeking quashing of the certification granted to the film, saying the Supreme Court had permitted its release.

The film, which hit the theatres on January 25, is directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and has Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in the lead roles. It is based on the saga of a historic battle of 13th century between Maharaja Ratan Singh and his army of Mewar and Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi.

The impending release of the movie had led to several incidents of vandalism, including an attack on a school bus in Gurugram and torching of a Haryana Roadways bus on January 24. The set of the movie was vandalised twice — in Jaipur and Kolhapur, while its director Bhansali was roughed up by members of the Karni Sena last year.

The apex court had paved the way for nationwide release of the film by staying the ban on its screening in Gujarat and Rajasthan. It had also restrained other states from issuing any such notification or order banning the screening of the film

HC declines to entertain plea against ‘Padmaavat’.

 The Delhi High Court today rejected a plea by a Rajasthan-based group seeking quashing of the certification granted to controversial Bollywood film ‘Padmaavat’, saying the Supreme Court had permitted its release.

The film, which hit the theaters today, is directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in lead roles and is based on the saga of a historic battle of 13th century between Maharaja Ratan Singh and his army of Mewar and Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi.

The petition opposing the U/A certification granted to the film was mentioned before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar by the Jauhar Smriti Sansthan, a group based in Chittorgarh in Rajasthan.

The bench, however, declined to hear the matter and asked the petitioner group to move the apex court as it had permitted the screening of the film, which hit the theatres today.

The impending release of the movie led to several incidents of vandalism over the past few days, including an attack on a school bus in Gurugram and torching of a Haryana Roadways bus yesterday.

The set of the movie was vandalised twice — in Jaipur and Kolhapur, while its director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was roughed up by members of the Karni Sena last year.

The group’s general secretary, Bhanwar Singh Bhati, who mentioned the plea before the bench owing to a lawyers’ strike in the high court, later told themedia that he will move the apex court today itself.

Bhati told the bench that a plea was moved before the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), which had declined to hear the matter saying it was not maintainable and had asked them to move the high court.

The apex court had paved the way for nationwide release of the movie by staying the ban on its screening in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

It had also restrained other states from issuing any such notification or order banning the screening of the film.

Maintaining that the states were under constitutional obligation to maintain law and order, the apex court had said that this duty also included providing police protection to persons involved in the film, its exhibition and the audience watching it.

The top court had on January 18 passed the interim order on the plea by Viacom 18 Media Pvt Ltd and other producers of the movie challenging the bar on screening of the movie by Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.

SC refuses to modify order allowing release of ‘Padmaavat’

 The Supreme Court today refused to modify its earlier order which had cleared the decks for the nationwide release of ‘Padmaavat’, saying people must understand that orders of the top court have to be “abided with”.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said this while rejecting pleas filed by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh seeking modification in its January 18 order.

The Supreme Court had paved the way for the nationwide release of ‘Padmaavat’ on January 25 by staying the ban on the screening in states of Gujarat and Rajasthan.

“People must understand that the Supreme Court has passed an order. They must abide by it. It is the obligation of the states to maintain law and order,” the bench also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said.

“We are not inclined to modify our order,” the bench said while dismissing the plea.

It asked the states to follow its order and gave them the liberty to approach it again “if the situation arises”.

The bench also dismissed the applications filed by Shree Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena, which has been staging protest in several states against the release of the movie, and Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha, seeking to stall the exhibition of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie.

The apex court had earlier restrained other states from issuing any ban orders on the Deepika Padukone-starrer movie.

Maintaining that states were under constitutional obligation to maintain law and order, the top court had said this duty also included providing police protection to persons involved in the film, its exhibition and the audience.

The film, starring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in lead roles, is based on the saga of a historic 13th century battle between Maharaja Ratan Singh and his army of Mewar and Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi.

SC to hear plea of Rajasthan, MP against release of Padmaavat

Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh today moved the Supreme Court seeking recall of its January 18 order by which controversial Bollywood movie “Padmaavat’ was allowed to be released in theatres across India on January 25.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud agreed to hear tomorrow the interim applications of both the states seeking modification of the apex court order allowing exhibition of the movie.

The states claimed that section 6 of the Cinematograph Act empowers them to stop exhibition of any controversial movie on the grounds of possible violation of law and order.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Viacom 18 the producers of the Deepika Padukone-starrer, opposed urgent hearing on any such interim applications.

The court, however, agreed to hear the applications tomorrow.

The Supreme Court had on January 25 paved the way for the nationwide release of ‘Padmaavat’ by staying the ban on its screening in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

The apex court also restrained other states from issuing any such notification or order banning the screening of the movie.

The film, starring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in lead roles, is based on the saga of historic battle of 13th century between Maharaja Ratan Singh and his army of Mewar and Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi.

Haryana and Madhya Pradesh governments have not issued any formal order but had stated that they would not allow the exhibition of the film.

Maintaining that states were under constitutional obligation to maintain law and order, the apex court had said that this duty also includes providing police protection to persons who are involved in the film, its exhibition and the audience watching it.

Source : PTI