Supreme Court directs state authorities to ensure no interference with ‘Bhobishyoter Bhoot’ screening

West Bengal chief secretary, home secretary and director-general of police have been instructed by the Supreme Court to ensure that there is no interference with the screening of the political satire ‘Bhobishyoter Bhoot’ by film director Anik Dutta. Justice D.Y Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta deliberated on the matter stating that ‘once a movie is certified by (the) Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), it is not open to any authority to issue formal or informal directions preventing the producer from having the movie screened’.

If such a thing happens, it then ‘infringes the rights under Article 19’ which relate to the fundamental right to free speech and expression, the court added. The court proceeded to ‘strictly direct’ the chief secretary, principal secretary, home and director-general of police in West Bengal through issued notices to ensure the unhindered screening of the movie.

Director of the movie Anil Dutta had earlier mentioned that the police had written to one of the producers of the film that further clearance was required for the film as certain portions of it could stoke trouble. The movie was was suddenly pulled out of cinema halls and multiplexes all over West Bengal on February 16, after it opened to nearly packed houses on February 15.

There were allegations that police had done this since it had the “potential” to lead to “law and order” problems. However, official reasons are not available on record yet.

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