On Thursday, Bombay High Court asked where the country was headed, resorting to ‘open threats’ to stall the release of the film Padmavati. The Court also asked about the intentions of the people who were announcing the rewards for the heads of actress Deepika Padukone and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali. A bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Bharati Dangre asked which other country had cultures like ours where threats were made to artistes and performers. The bench said that it was distressing to know that a person and his team worked tirelessly to make a feature film but were unable to release it because of the continuous threats made towards the production team.

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The judges asked if such was the case with the rich men and women, what would become of the poor people. Threats are being openly issued and shown on television and even Chief Ministers are not allowing the release of the movie in their states. Justice Dharmadhikari said that this is a censorship at an entirely different level. The Court also quipped at CBI and state CID for their failure to trace the absconding killers of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare despite being given time to crack the cases. “In other parts of the world, a truck with weapons drives into people. In less than 24 hours, the person is caught dead or alive, identified, a role is attributed and the whole country is alerted. They take it as an affront to the nation. We have not learned anything from the attack on the Parliament and on a prime minister,” the judge added.

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The Court said it would not allow the matter to linger for years. “In this country, do you want a situation where people cannot voice their opinion? We can’t allow constitutional rights to be taken away like this. Every time a person says he or she wants to voice their opinion, somebody says ‘I won’t allow it’,” said Justice Dharmadhikari. The judges questioned whether any senior officer of the agencies had bothered to find out why the probe has made no headway and if it is being scuttled.

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