SC notice to Tamil Nadu over ban on film Dam 999


By Hindustan Times

The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government on producer-director Sohan Roy's petition challenging the state's decision to ban the screening of his film Dam 999 for 6 months from December 16.

A bench of justices AK Ganguly and JS Khehar while seeking the state's response posted the matter for further hearing to January 13. The State had banned the film on the ground that it would pose law and order problems as it made apparent references to the Mullaperiyar dam in Kerala's Idduki district which is the bone of contention between the two states.

The filmmaker had, however, denied the state's claim. The apex court had earlier on December 8 asked the state to give an opportunity of hearing to Roy before banning the film.

Accordingly after hearing Roy, the state government chose to impose the ban from December 16, forcing the Roy to approach the apex court again complaining that the authorities failed to apply their mind while imposing the ban.

Roy, had earlier, questioned the subjective satisfactionof Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on whose directions the order of ban dated November 24 was passed. Alleging the decision was based on "narrow political objectives", he said the order had no constitutional basis, much less legal basis.

In his earlier petition Roy had said that the state suspended the screening of his movie without hearing him or affording him an opportunity for clarification. The "arbitrary, unilateral and unjustified act" violated the petitioner's fundamental right to freedom guaranteed under Article 19(1) (a).

"The fundamental right to freedom can be reasonably restricted only for the purpose mentioned in Article 19(2). The restriction must be justified on the anvil of necessity and not on the quicksand of convenience of political expediency," Roy had said in his petition.