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Cannot curb freedom of speech and expression of filmmakers, writers, says Supreme Court

The court rejected a petition, filed by a man who had once thrown ink on Arvind Kejriwal, to restrain the release of the documentary An Insignificant Man.


Filmmakers and writers must be allowed to enjoy freedom of speech and expression and curbs cannot be put on this, the Supreme Court said on Thursday as it rejected a petition seeking to block the release of the documentary An Insignificant Man based on Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal.

The film will be screened in cinema halls today as scheduled, following the court's ruling.

Rejecting a plea by Nachiketa Walhakar to restrain the film's release, a bench of chief justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said: "Courts should be extremely slow in passing restraint orders" as there can't be curbs on the freedom of speech and expression.

Saying that filmmakers and writers should be allowed to enjoy the freedom of speech and expression, the court said all creative people have a right to enjoy the production of films and dramas.

Petitioner Walhakar had allegedly thrown ink on Kejriwal in 2013. He told the court that a video of that incident was being shown as part of the film's promotion.

The ruling is also significant in view of the storm of protest that is being stoked by some Rajput community leaders and politicians against the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film Padmavati on the grounds that the filmmaker has 'distorted' history and hurt their sentiments. These leaders are demanding a ban on the film's release.

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