New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday took exception to people holding official positions making “prejudicial comments” about the Hindi film “Padmavati”, saying these breached the principle of rule of law.
The court also said people in position of responsibility should not comment on the film as it may prejudice the censor board.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said: “We are governed by the rule of law.
“When the matter is pending before the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for grant of certificate, nobody holding a responsible position should comment as it would amount to violation of the principle of the rule of law.”
Taking exception to comments by leaders cutting across the political spectrum, the court said, “When a matter is pending for consideration before CBFC, how can persons in public authority comment on whether CBFC should issue certificate or not? It will prejudice the decision of CBFC.”
“They are violating the principle of rule of law”, the court said further observing, “We say nothing more, nothing less for the time being.”
The court also junked a petition by lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma objecting to the offshore release of the film “Padmavati”.
Taking exception to some portions of Sharma’s petition, the court said it was “unwarranted and scurrilous”.
Senior counsel Harish Salve, who appeared for ‘Padmavati’ Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, had pointed to the objectionable portion of the petition by Sharma.
On November 20, the court, while rejecting Sharma’s plea for the blocking the release of “Padmavati” within the country, had said: “‘Padmavati’ has not yet received certification from CBFC. In view of this, our interference will tantamount to pre-judging the matter. We don’t intend to do so.”
“Needless to say that the pleadings are premature”, the bench had said that CBFC was a statutory body and the court could not injunct it from doing its duty of certifying the film.
“Padmavati” is mired in controversy over conjectures that it “distorts facts” about Rajput queen Padmavati. Many states have declared that they will not allow its release unless the controversy over it ends.