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The Supreme Court on Tuesday lifted the ban on screening Bollywood film Jodhaa Akbar in Uttar Pradesh and towns of Uttarakhand and Haryana (Dehradun, Ambala, Sonepat and Rewari) following a petition by the film's producer UTV.
A bench of Chief Justice KG Balakrishna and Justice RV Raveendran scrapped the Uttar Pradesh government ban as well as similar orders by authorities in Dehradun in Uttarkhand and in Ambala, Sonepat and Rewari in Haryana.
UTV Software Communication Ltd approached the court pleading that the ban violated its fundamental right of speech and expression and invoked article 32 of the constitution. Jodhaa Akbar, based on a story of Mughal emperor Akbar's marriage to Rajput princess Jodha Bai, has been facing protests in several states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Uttarakhand.
Some Rajput organisations insist that Jodha was not Akbar's wife but his daughter-in-law while some claim that the portrayal of Rajputs in the movie has flaws. Uttar Pradesh banned the movie March 1.
Appearing for the producer, senior counsel Indu Malhotra urged the court to lift the ban saying that once the Censor Board of India clears a movie, state governments should not interfere.