The Supreme Court today imposed a fine of 20 lakh rupees on the West Bengal government for imposing a ‘virtual’ ban on the public screening of the satirical film Bhobishyoter Bhoot in the state.
A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud said, the fine amount shall be given to producers and cinema hall owners as compensation for violation of their right to freedom of speech and expression. 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.
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.
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. The film, directed by Anik Dutta, was released on February 15.