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HC declines to entertain plea against 'Padmaavat', says go to SC

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today rejected a plea by a Rajasthan-based group seeking quashing of the certification granted to controversial Bollywood film 'Padmaavat', saying the Supreme Court had permitted its release.

The film, which hit the theaters today, is directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in lead roles and is based on the saga of a historic battle of 13th century between Maharaja Ratan Singh and his army of Mewar and Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi.

The petition opposing the U/A certification granted to the film was mentioned before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar by the Jauhar Smriti Sansthan, a group based in Chittorgarh in Rajasthan.

The bench, however, declined to hear the matter and asked the petitioner group to move the apex court as it had permitted the screening of the film, which hit the theatres today. The impending release of the movie led to several incidents of vandalism over the past few days, including an attack on a school bus in Gurugram and torching of a Haryana Roadways bus yesterday.

The set of the movie was vandalised twice -- in Jaipur and Kolhapur, while its director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was roughed up by members of the Karni Sena last year. The group's general secretary, Bhanwar Singh Bhati, who mentioned the plea before the bench owing to a lawyers' strike in the high court, later told themedia that he will move the apex court today itself.

Bhati told the bench that a plea was moved before the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), which had declined to hear the matter saying it was not maintainable and had asked them to move the high court.

The apex court had paved the way for nationwide release of the movie by staying the ban on its screening in Gujarat and Rajasthan. It had also restrained other states from issuing any such notification or order banning the screening of the film.

Maintaining that the states were under constitutional obligation to maintain law and order, the apex court had said that this duty also included providing police protection to persons involved in the film, its exhibition and the audience watching it.

The top court had on January 18 passed the interim order on the plea by Viacom 18 Media Pvt Ltd and other producers of the movie challenging the bar on screening of the movie by Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.

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