Governments of Haryana, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand have declared that they’ll not permit screening of the film, which also stars Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in lead roles.
On Wednesday, a bench of the SC comprising justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission of the counsel of Viacom eighteen and other producers of the film that the plea be heard urgently because the film was set for all-India release on January 25.
A bench of the SC additionally restrained all states from ban the Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor starrer. “Creative freedom, freedom of speech and expression can’t be guillotined, Artistic freedom needs to be protected,” the SC said.
The Haryana government, at a recent cabinet meeting, decided to ban the film in the state.
The producers moved the top court through senior lawyer Harish Salve and advocate Mahesh Agarwal and submitted, in a petition, that the film has undergone changes as well as in its title as recommended by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
Asserting that the film has been cleared by the CBFC, the plea aforesaid the states cannot impose a blanket ban on a movie and its screening may be suspended in a particular area or areas on account of law and order problem, not across the states.
Earlier on two times, the apex court had disappointed attempts to stall release of the film, saying it cannot pre-judge a picture before the authorised body CBFC takes a decision.
The top court had on Nov 28 expressed unhappiness over remarks made by politicians over the film and asked them to abstain from reacting as they may prejudice censor board’s decision.
“When a matter is pending for consideration before the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), how will persons in public authority comment on whether the CBFC should issue a certificate or not? It’ll prejudice the decision of CBFC,” the bench had then said.