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SC orders screening of satirical Bengali film banned by state

Once the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has cleared a movie no authority can restrict its screening, the Supreme Court held on Friday.

india Updated: Mar 15, 2019 23:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
People dress up as ghosts in a rally to protest against recently pulled out Bengali film ‘Bhobishyoter Bhoot' from multiplexes and cinema halls without explanation from Madhusudhan Manch in Kolkata. (Samir Jana/Hindustan Times)

Once the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has cleared a movie no authority can restrict its screening, the Supreme Court held on Friday as it directed West Bengal’s chief secretary, principal home secretary and Director General of Police to ensure the unhindered screening of the movie, Bhobishyoter Bhoot, a socio-political satire. The film was forced to be withdrawn from the theatres from February 16, a day after its release.

“A large number of decisions of this court have held that once a movie is certified by CBFC. .. it is not open to any authority to issue formal or informal directions preventing the producer from having the film screened as it directly infringes the rights under article 19,” a bench of justices DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said, issuing notice to the state government on a petition filed by the director and producer of the movie.

The state’s chief secretary, principal secretary for the home department and DGP were directed to ensure proper arrangements of security to facilitate the screening of the film.

The court posted the matter for further hearing to March 25.

The film’s producers challenged the decision of the state government to direct withdrawal of the movie from almost all theatres on the ground that “that the contents of the film may hurt public sentiments...”

First Published: Mar 15, 2019 23:26 IST