23/01/2018 1:00 PM IST | Updated 23/01/2018 4:36 PM IST

Supreme Court Refuses To Reinstate Ban On 'Padmaavat' In Rajasthan And Madhya Pradesh

“States must ensure that law and order must prevail."


MUMBAI -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday did not allow two states to re-instate a ban on the release of controversial Bollywood film "Padmaavat", saying it stood by its previous ruling clearing the way for the movie to be shown in theatres.

On Monday, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, both ruled by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had sought to re-instate a ban on the film and asked the court to reconsider its previous ruling clearing its release.

The government of Rajasthan had argued it wanted to avoid public unrest by banning the film after groups critical of the project accused its director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, of distorting history by portraying a Muslim ruler as the "lover" of Queen Padmavati of the Hindu Rajput warrior clan.

"We are not going to modify our earlier order," the three-judge bench of the Apex Court, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said on Tuesday.

"States must ensure that law and order must prevail," Misra added.

The court had issued its initial ruling last week at the behest of the film's producers after four states, including Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, had sought to ban the film, despite clearance by a film certification panel.

Despite the court ruling, theatre owners in the two states, which are among India's biggest film markets, said they were wary of releasing the film without more explicit support from their state governments.

"We want to release the film, but have no support from the government. When we approached the local police, we were told that we should show the film at our own risk," Sandeep Jain, who owns seven theatres in Madhya Pradesh, told Reuters over the phone.

Conservative Hindu groups, such as the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, held protests this week against the film's release, including blocking traffic in parts of the country.

A Rajput community group, Sarwa Kshatriya Mahasabha, in Chhattisgarh said they will continue their protests despite the court's order.

"We have already warned the cinema hall owners and they have given in writing that they will not screen the film. In case they do, we will not be responsible for any consequences," Rakesh Singh Bais told Reuters.

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