Sanjay Leela Bhansali's movie Padmavati, that has been renamed Padmaavat, has been embroiled in controversy for over a year now. From states imposing ban on the movie to threats of violence and death, the moviemakers have been subjected to some very tough times. Even once the CBFC's clearance came through - with a handful of modifications - four states imposed a ban on Padmaavat's release. However, the Supreme Court today stayed the ban on the movie by Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, giving a green signal for the release of the movie across the country.
The apex court also restricted other states from imposing a ban on the movie hereafter. SC also said that states must maintain law and order and that creative content is an inseparable part of freedom of expression.
The SC bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud and headed by CJI Dipak Misra, said that all states are constitutionally obliged to maintain law and order and are obliged to prevent any untoward incident during the screening of the film across India, a permission that had been granted by CBFC.
The court also mentioned that the decision of the states to impose the ban violates Article 21, which guarantees personal liberty.
According to agency reports, senior lawyer Harish Salve, on behalf of the makers of the movie said, "If states are banning a film, then it is destroying federal structure. It is a serious matter. If somebody has a problem, then he or she can approach appellate tribunal for relief. State can't touch the content of a film."
Sanjay Leela Bhansali's movie features Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh. The movie is scheduled for release on January 25.