Supreme Court imposes ₹20 lakh fine on Bengal govt for banning political satire film
The Supreme Court on Thursday imposed a fine of ₹20 lakh on the West Bengal government for shadow banning Bangla film “Bhobishyoter Bhoot” based on political satire
The Supreme Court on Thursday imposed a fine of ₹20 lakh on the West Bengal government for shadow banning Bangla film "Bhobishyoter Bhoot" based on political satire.
It also directed the state government to pay damages to theatre owners who were restrained from screening director Anik Dutta's "Bhobishyoter Bhoot" (Ghost of the Future) from almost all multiplexes and single screen theatres earlier in the year.
The money will be given to the producer and theatre owners by the state, a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud said.
The apex court also noted that the order clearly was in the violation of the fundamental right of free speech and expression.
Justice Chandrachud observed that this kind of action on the film was a serious matter wherein intolerance was used by the state against artistic freedom.
The court was hearing a plea by the film producer which alleged the movie was taken down from a majority of theatres at the behest of the state authorities. The court insisted that the right to free speech can't be silenced because of fear of mobs.
On March 15, the top court directed the Mamata Banerjee government to ensure that no obstruction or restraint of any kind was imposed on the screening of the movie .
A communication was received by one of the producers of the movie from the Special Branch of West Bengal Police that the contents of the film may hurt public sentiments, which may lead to political law and order issues.
The film, directed by Anik Dutta, was released on February 15. Its story revolves around a group of ghosts, including a politician, who assemble at a refugee camp and try to be relevant in contemporary times.
The film was allegedly withdrawn from single-screen theatres and multiplexes a day after its release.