The Supreme Court has imposed a Rs. 20-lakh fine
on the West Bengal government for not allowing the screening of Bhobishyoter Bhoot, a social and
political satirical film. The Court
has held that the state government had clearly abused public power. The
judgment came on a petition filed by the film’s producers.
The SC has also restrained the West Bengal
government from using “extra-constitutional” means to stop the screening of the
film. It further added that the state government should ensure that the
properties of the theatre owners are duly protected and viewers’ safety is assured.
The Court has observed that the petitioners have
suffered a violation of their fundamental right to free speech and expression
and of their right to pursue a lawful business.
Article 19 (1) (a) guarantees the right to
freedom of speech and expression to all citizens. Article 19 (1) (g) provides
all the citizens the freedom to practise any profession, or to carry on any
occupation, trade or business subject to certain restrictions.