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Writ Cannot be Issued on Individual Perceptions Says Delhi HC in Plea against Padmavat For Glorification of Sati

While dismissing the petition the High Court has noted that there is no violation of Section 2(1)(b) of the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987 as there is no actual practice of Sati followed nor there is any visual depiction is shown in the film. Further the makers of the film have declared in the disclaimers that the film is a work of fiction and it does not intend to promote Sati or any similar practice
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Delhi High Court on thursday dismissed a plea filed against the movie Padmavat alleging that the movie glorifies the practice of Sati holding that writs cannot be issued against artistic works based on perception of individuals and regarded it as yet another device to interdict the exhibition of film.

The portrayal of the film was criticised in two recent articles recently in the Indian Express and the Wire respectively and the petition was based on these two articles.

It has been observed by the Delhi High Court while dismissing the petition that the two articles criticising the movie on which petitioner has relied for filing the present petition are the opinions and perception of the authors. The petitioner is free to agree with the authors and have a similar view as theirs but at the same time there are also people who considered the impact of film as different and do not agree with the view, opinion and perception of these two authors and of the petitioner.

The petition was filed after three weeks of release of film on February 15 and sought the following relief from the court :

  1. Issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ directing the CFBC to take appropriate steps to stop glorification of practice of Sati by deleting the relevant scenes from the movie 
  2. Issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ directing the State authorities to ensure that scenes promoting the act of Sati are not screened in public
  3. Restrain the respondents from continuing to promoting and glorify the practice of Sati through promotion and further broadcast of the scenes which are related to Sati
  4. Direct the Delhi Police to register FIR against the director and producer of film on basis of the petitioner’s complaint

While dismissing the petition the High Court has noted that there is no violation of Section 2(1)(b) of the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987 as there is no actual practice of Sati followed nor there is any visual depiction is shown in the film. Further the makers of the film have declared in the disclaimers that the film is a work of fiction and it does not intend to promote Sati or any similar practice.

It has been further observed by the Delhi High Court that the CFBC has also issued an U/A certificate to film as per the provisions of Section 4 and 5A of the Cinemotography Act, 1952 and guidelines for the certification of film for public exhibition.

The reliance was also made on the recent two judgments of the Supreme Court in the case of Viacom 18 Media vs. UoI (Padmavat Case) and Nachiketa Walhekar vs. CBFC (Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal documentary case).

The court dismissed the writ petition of the petitioner by noting that as on the date of release there was no complaint against the film and thus the film was in public domain for long and if petitioner had any complaint against the film the relevant material should be placed before the CFBC at the appropriate time.

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Reviewed by:
Mehak Sharma
Published on 27-Feb-2018
416 views