SC imposes Rs. 20 lakhs fine on Bengal government for pulling down Bhobishyoter Bhoot
New Delhi, Apr 11 (IBNS): The Supreme Court on Thursday imposed a fine of Rs. 20 lakhs on the West Bengal government for pulling down Bengali film Bhobishyoter Bhoot, a political satire by director Anik Dutta.
The amount will have to be paid to the producer of the film.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had directed screening of Bhobishyoter Bhoot after it was pulled down from theatre houses by the state administration without stating any reason.
The film, which was passed by the censor board, released for the second time on Apr 5.
Delivering its judgement on Thursday, the top court said free speech can't be gagged out of fear of mob, media report said.
Drawing sharp criticism, screening of Bhobishyoter Bhoot, a political satire from a filmmaker who was critical of the ruling government in West Bengal, was stopped across the state on Feb 15. The film was released after a due certification and was running full show on the first day.
Since the withdrawal of the film from the halls a month ago, in what was attributed to some direction from "higher authorities", the filmmaker and his cast and crew besides many creative people from Bengal- who are apparently not aligned to the ruling party- took to streets with regular protests.
The incident occurred months after Dutta had raised his eyebrows over an excessive use of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's pictures at government-sponsored film and cultural centre, Nandan, during the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) in 2018.
The filmmaker had said the use of Banerjee's pictures all over at Nandan at an international film festival venue was not a visual pleasure.
The director, who earlier made the superhit Bhooter Bhabishyat in 2012, had expressed his fear that he could face harassment for criticising the state government.
Sharp criticism followed the suspension of screening since the West Bengal Chief Minister herself is a vocal critic of the censorship of creative people under the regime of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled central government and had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of imposing an "Emergency" like situation on people and free speech.
Bhobishyoter Bhoot, which is not a sequel to Bhooter Bhabishyat, has an ensemble cast.