By Prabhakar Rao Voruganti
09 Dec 2011 02:19:50 AM IST
SC refuses to lift ban on Dam999
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to lift the ban on the film ‘Dam 999.’
A Bench, comprising Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly and Justice Kehar, instead said that the Director of the film Sohan Roy should approach the Tamil Nadu Government for the said relief.
Roy moved the apex court by way of a writ petition averring that the ban was imposed ex-parte and that it violated his right to freedom of speech and expression. And that he was never afforded an opportunity to submit his side of the story on the film’s exhibition in TN.
However, the Additional Advocate General of Tamil Nadu, Guru Krishna Kumar, told the Bench that the averment of the petitioner that he was not given an opportunity was incorrect and that the State government had indeed given him a hearing on December 7.
Gurukrishna Kumar further stated that under the TN Cinematographic Act, it was possible for the State government to impose a ban on any film. But, the petitioner did not come up for the hearing and sought more time. Senior counsel Krishnan Venugopal, appearing for the petitioner, said that no hearing was given to the petitioner. To this, Gurukrishna Kumar said that the statement was incorrect and indeed the State government had given him a hearing on December 7.
The filmmaker, in his petition, questioned the subjective satisfaction of the Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at whose behest the ban order dated November 24 was issued. The petitioner alleged that the “arbitrary, unilateral and unjustified act” of the respondent had violated the petitioner’s fundamental right to freedom guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (A).
The fundamental right to freedom can be reasonably restricted and that too only for the purpose mentioned in Article 19 (2). This must be justified on the anvil of necessity and not on the quicksand of convenience of political expediency, Roy felt. He said that the authorities had neither read the script nor watched the movie before the ban and that their action amounted to pre-censorship, which was liable to be quashed.