SC pulls up UP over 'Aarakshan'

A Bench of Justices Mukundakam Sharma and A R Dave issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh government as well as Centre on the petition filed by film producer and director Prakash Jha.

Appearing for Jha, senior counsel Harish Salve sought the court’s direction to lift the ban imposed by the state government for two months. He insisted for the direction to stay the ban order. However, the bench said it would first like to hear the view of the state government before taking any decision.

The court fixed the matter for further hearing on Friday,  taking into consideration the plea by Salve that long weekend ahead would cause losses to the film distributors. The film was earlier banned by Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh on the apprehension of igniting public passion and disturbing peace and tranquility.

However, the ban was lifted from the states of Punjab and Andhra Pradesh as no untoward incident took place following the film’s release. Jha had on April 12, moved the apex court seeking lifting of ban.

In his petition, he tried to allay the apprehension of film being anti-Dalit. He contended that any ban on the film for a certain period was violation of his fundamental right to freedom of speech as it has been duly passed by the Censor Board’s special committee.

The special committee comprised its chairperson Leela Samson, and experts like retired chief justice of Punjab and Haryana Court Mukul Mudgal, and Dalit activist Rajni Tilak.

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