SC quashes UP govt ban on 'Aarakshan'

Saying that dissent was necessary for a vibrant democracy, a bench of Justices Mukundakam Sharma and A R Dave said any restriction on screening of the film would be against the democratic value of free speech and discussion. The court set aside the ban order imposed by Mayawati-led BSP government in the state for two months. “In a democracy, particularly in a vibrant democracy like ours, public discussion is necessary for its smooth running,” the apex court in its order said.

“In fact, such discussions bring awareness on social issues for effective working of the democracy. When there is such public discussion and dissent there would be an informed public opinion which is necessary for our society,” the court said.

The bench had on August 16 directed the state to explain the ban on the film, produced and directed by Prakash Jha. Maintaining that the film was not ‘anti-Dalit, Jha had on April 12 moved the court seeking lifting of ban, also imposed by the governments of Andhra Pradesh and Punjab.

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