Once CBFC clears a movie, no one has right to obstruct its release: SC
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday criticised the apex religious body of the Sikhs, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), for imposing restrictions on the film 'Nanak Shah Fakir' and cleared the decks for its nationwide release on April 13.
The top court said that once the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) grants certification to a movie, there cannot be any kind of obstruction for its exhibition.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said after the certification from CBFC, no group, body, association or individuals can create any kind of disturbance in exhibition of the film.
Petitioner Harinder S Sikka, a retired Naval officer and the producer of the film, had approached the apex court claiming that the SGPC had recently banned the release of film which is based on the life and teachings of Sikhism's founder Guru Nanak Dev, even after the CBFC cleared it on March 28.
The bench said the writ petition presented yet another picture of "many a private body endeavouring to curtail the freedom of expression of the idea of an author scripted in celluloid language because they have a perception that there will be some kind of law and order situation if the film in question, namely, Nanak Shah Fakir is released in movie halls".
It said that creating disturbance even after CBFC certification was akin to "becoming a law unto themselves and not respecting the law that governs the land".
"Once the film is granted certificate by the competent statutory board, unless the said certificate is nullified or modified by any superior authority, the producer or distributor of the film has every right to get it exhibited in a movie hall," it said.
The apex court observed that if such activities are encouraged, the same has the potentiality to bring in "anarchy and cripple the right of freedom of speech and expression".