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Supreme Court has been the voice of sanity in the Padmavati controversy

The Chief Justice of India, while dismissing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a stay on the UK release of the film, reprimanded those in public offices trying to influence the work of the CBFC

editorials Updated: Nov 30, 2017 12:15 IST
Hindustan Times
Supreme Court,Padmavati,Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Protestors closed down the historic gate of the Chittorgarh fort, denying tourists entry into the complex on Friday while demanding a ban on the upcoming movie 'Padmavati'(PTI)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stood up once again as the voice of sanity amid a cacophony of illogical protests against the release of the Hindi film, Padmavati. In dismissing a petition seeking a stay on the UK release of the film, the bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Mishra, reprimanded people in public offices who were commenting on whether the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) should certify the film. That was tantamount to seeking to influence the verdict of the CBFC. The Chief Justice of India even went so far as to say that the public interest litigation was an abuse of the process of law.

Even though the CBFC has not yet issued a certificate to the film, and none of the objectors have, therefore, seen it, there have been widespread (and sometimes violent) protests across the country to oppose it. So much so that several chief ministers – including Yogi Adityanath of UP, Vijay Rupani of Gujarat, and Nitish Kumar of Bihar – have refused to let the film be released in their states. The protestors have been encouraged by what is being seen as support from such senior political leaders.

The Supreme Court’s comments come at a time when there is an urgent need to bring some tempering into the public discourse surrounding the film. It is important to remember that the CBFC is the certifying authority for films in the country, and political ideologies should not be allowed to interfere with its work. Fringe elements of no religion or sect can be allowed to hold an independent body to ransom. It will set a dangerous precedent, and not just for the world of cinema, if such violent and disruptive elements are allowed to influence the work of a certification authority simply by the threat of violence.

First Published: Nov 30, 2017 11:42 IST