You may have seen various instances where a ban is imposed on a particular film by State Government/s by citing reasons that the said film will create law and order situations in their State. Many a times these States of India, who choose to ban a particular film even exercise their legal rights under their (Local) Cinemas Regulation Act and legally impose a ban on a film in exercise of their rights, despite the fact that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) (functioning under the Central Government of India) has certified the film for public viewing for the “entire territory of India”.

The recent case in hand is the case of the film Padmaavat where six States of India chose to ban the said film, despite the film receiving a UA Certificate by the CBFC. We have seen many such instances in the past where the said films so banned by a particular State of India is eventually cleared by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and there also are “Orders” passed by the said Apex Court calling upon the State Government to immediately lift the said ban.

Now despite a filmmaker obtaining a favorable Order/Judgement from the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the State/s yet in open contempt of the Order/judgement of the said Apex Court blatantly overlook the said directions of the Apex Court and willfully fail/neglect to exhibit the said Film in their State, thereby intentionally making a filmmaker suffer huge monetary losses. The Film Padmavaat is an example where 6 States of India in contempt of the Supreme Court Order willfully failed and neglected to exhibit the said film in their respective States.

All Filmmakers should therefore know their rights and remedies, which the Statute offers to them, as also the laws, which govern such rights of a Filmmaker.

Firstly the Filmmakers should know that any State of India can be sued by a private Individual (Filmmaker) as per Article 300 of the Constitution of India, especially in cases if the said State of India has willfully indulged in any act of Civil Contempt as per Section 2 (b) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

Secondly the Filmmakers should be aware that there are various judgements passed by the Apex Court, which they can suitably rely upon to secure their financial demand of “loss of business opportunity” in the claim suit filed by them in the Court.

Also they should know that per Article 142 of the Constitution of India, unless a specific law is passed by the Parliament to seek enforcement of Supreme Court Decrees and Orders, the President of India is required to enforce throughout the territory of India (effectively through the Governors of State), such Decrees and Orders as passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Filmmakers can alternatively also make a humble plea before the office of the President of India if they have sufficient time on hand to release their film, and if they fear that a particular State Government may not implement the Order of the Supreme Court, as seen in the case of the film Padmaavat.

(The author has been advising and representing various fi lm personalities as an Advocate since almost two decades)

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