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The Supreme Court ticked off ‘people holding public offices’ for issuing statements about the movie as this could prejudice the CBFC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea filed by lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma to stay the release of Padmavati abroad and also ticked off ‘people holding public offices’ for issuing statements about the movie as this could prejudice the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification).

The movie would be released abroad only after it is cleared by the CBFC, Harish Salve, the counsel for the film producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali, told the court.

Taking exception to people holding official positions making adverse comments about the film ‘Padmavati’, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY 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.”

Chief ministers of several states have made statements against allowing the screening of the film.

Dismissing the petition to stay the release of film abroad, the court said it is for the CBFC to take the call on the movie.

ML Sharma had also sought a direction to the CBI to register a case against film producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali and others for various offences, some of which allegedly included defamation and violation of the Cinematography Act, a PTI report stated.

The bench which also comprised Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud termed Sharma’s plea as “misconceived”, but did not impose cost on the lawyer, considering he has been a practising lawyer of the apex court, the report added.

Asked by the CJI if the film would be released abroad without certification, Harish Salve, representing the film’s director Sanjay Leela Bansali, said that it will be released abroad only if it is cleared for viewing in India.

Padmavati has already been cleared by censors in Britain and could have been released there. However, with this assurance to the court from producer’s counsel, this would not be possible. The film was originally scheduled for release on Dec 1.

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