The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked all states to comply with its order not to stand in the way of the release of controversial film "Padmaavat" as it dismissed last ditch efforts by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh governments to block its January 25 release. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said: "People must understand that the Supreme Court has passed an order and it must be complied with."
"Our order is to be complied with by one and all. A few hundred people come on the street and create a law and order situation demanding ban. That can't be accepted," Misra said. "You can advise them not to watch the movie if they don't like it. We will not modify our order," the Chief Justice told Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who tried to flag the law and order situation as a ground for blocking release of the film.
The court also dismissed a plea by Akhil Bharatiya Karni Mahasangh, saying: "We are not inclined to modify order" -- clearing the decks for the release of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial.
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Admitting that maintaining law and order was the state's obligation, Mehta appearing for the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh governments urged the court to appreciate the ground situation and threat to breach of peace. "You can't make virtue of creating trouble. You can't first create trouble and then make a virtue of it," said Justice Chandrachud. Seeking clarification, Mehta said a situation could arise where after the release of the film, there could be trouble in some parts. "Let the state honour this order. Rest we will deal with when it comes to it," Justice Khanwilkar said.
On the other hand, The Shri Rajput Karni Sena on Tuesday said it was "disheartened" with the Supreme Court dismissing pleas to ban the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Padmaavat", with its Chittorgarh unit chief claiming that over 1,900 women have signed up for "jauhar" are are "ready" to commit mass immolation.
Speaking to the media after the Supreme Court dismissed the plea of the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh governments seeking a ban on the film, Lokendra Singh Kalvi, patron of the organisation, said: "It is disheartening to know that the Supreme Court hasn't respected the public sentiments.
"However, now we are standing the in people's court and are confident that people will support us to observe junta curfew," he said.
Kalvi said he wanted the other six historians to be shown the movie. Only three of nine historians had been shown the film by Bhansali.
Meanwhile, a senior spokesperson of the Karni Sena from Chittorgarh said that "people from the city of Queen Padmavat are disheartened with the verdict of the Supreme Court".
"If we want, we can choose violent ways and disturb people and tourists. However, on the contrary, our women have decided to opt for jauhar (mass immolation) without disturbing anyone," he said.
He claimed that "wood has been collected at the jauhar location and 1,908 women have registered for jauhar. If the administration allows us to climb on top of the fort, we will do so."
Administrative officials have chosen to remain silent on the issue and were unavailable for comment.
The film releases on Thursday. The Karni Sena and other fringe groups claim Bhansali's period drama distorts history.