The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the ban on the Bollywood period drama, Padmaavat, in six states. On Tuesday, the film producers filed a petition before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
Governments of Haryana, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand had declared that they will not allow screening of the movie, which also stars Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh. The producers moved the top court through senior lawyer Harish Salve and advocate Mahesh Agarwal and submitted that the movie has undergone changes, including in its title, as suggested by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
Asserting that the film has been cleared by the CBFC, the plea said the states cannot impose a blanket ban on a film and its screening can be suspended in a particular area on account of law and order problem, not across the states. Earlier on two occasions, the apex court had thwarted attempts to stall the release of the film, saying it cannot pre-judge a movie before the CBFC takes a decision.
The film had landed into a massive controversy after Karni Sena, a rightwing group in Rajasthan, and other groups from the Rajput community started protests against the portrayal of queen Padmini. The groups had objected to the depiction of their legendary queen and alleged a distortion of history. Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje even shot a letter to Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani asking her that the movie should not be released in the state without making necessary changes. Following suit, the leaders of other states including Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh had also announced a ban on the film’s release.