Friday, August 19, 2011

SC: States can’t ban film cleared by censor board

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that state governments cannot ban a film which has been cleared by the censor board for public screening, on the apprehension that it could cause a law and order problem.
Clearing the decks for release of Prakash Jha’s film Aarakshan in UP, a bench said, “Once the Central Board for Film Certification has cleared the film for public viewing, the screening cannot be prohibited in a manner as has been done by the UP government.”
It rejected the Mayawati government’s plea that reservation continued to be a sensitive issue and any derogatory reference to it could spark violent. It said maintaining law and order was the government’s responsibility.
The court said reservation as a social issue needs to be debated in every forum. “We feel reservation is a social issue and in a vibrant democracy like ours, public discussion is necessary. Such a discussion on social issues brings about awareness for effective working of the democracy,” the bench said.
It also said that divergence of opinion was important to a healthy democracy. “In a democracy, it is not necessary that every one sings the same song,” the court said. The state said a high-powered committee comprising eight principal secretaries previewed the film and found certain dialogues inflammatory enough to trigger a law and order situation on the sensitive issue of reservation. On the committee’s recommendations, a temporary ban was placed on the screening of Aarakshan.

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