Padmaavat: PIL filed in Delhi High Court alleging that Padmaavat promotes the practice of Sati

As per reports, the Delhi High Court today reserved its decision on a plea filed by Swami Agnivesh (W.P.(C) 1557/2018) alleging that the film Padmaavat glorifies the practice of sati and further sought penal action against its producers and director.

A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said it has to be shown that the idea of glorifying the practice was being intentionally propagated by the producers and director of the film. It observed that according to one of the disclaimers in the film, it is a work of fiction and therefore, it does not show any intention or animus on the part of the producers or director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, to propagate the practice.

The petition, filed through advocate Mehmood Pracha, also seeks directions to the Delhi Police to lodge an FIR against Ajit Andhare, one of the producers, and Bhansali.

Central government standing counsel Manish Mohan, appearing for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the censor board, opposed the plea, saying the movie was certified for public viewing after considering all the aspects.

Advocate Mehmood Pracha argued that even he saw the scenes showing sati or jauhar and he too was of the view that the manner in which it was being shown, “glorifies” the practice.

The bench, however, said if the petitioners view was accepted, then the scene showing attempted disrobing of Draupadi in the Mahabharata serial would be construed as propagating sexual violence against women. “Just because someone shows something, does not mean it is propagation. If someone views it (film) and gets affected, then the person showing it cannot be blamed. The effect does not make out an offence,” the bench said. The court also said that in the present day and age, it was “hesitant to accept” the petitioners claim that someone would follow such a practice just by seeing the movie.

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