Centre seeks blanket ban on smoking scenes in films

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New Delhi, Nov 21 (UNI) Appearing before the Delhi High Court today the Central Government said that there should be a blanket ban on the smoking scenes in films and television programmes, as it influences the tender minds of people.

Justifying their stand of banning smoking scenes in films and television programmes, the Centre contended before justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul that on-screen depiction of smoking is against public interest as people try to imitate their stars who, for them, are their role models.

Additional solicitor general P P Malhotra and advocate Mukul Gupta appearing for the Centre, said that all those who watch their stars doing some action try to imitiate the same without knowing the ills of smoking.

Smoking scenes shown in films or advertisements promote smoking which is bad for the health of people.

Every Cigratte pack carries on it a warning which says "Smoking is injurious to health", but in films it cannot be written under the scene. There are instances when people, particularly youth and children, have tried to imitate what they see on the screen. In some cases people have jumped from high rise buildings and did racing on the motor cyle trying to imitate what they saw in a film.The same will be the case if on-screen smoking is allowed to be screened," M Mr Malhotra said.

The Centre's submission came before Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, who is hearing the matter as an umpire judge after a split verdict by a division bench of Mukul Mudgal and Sanjiv Khanna .

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt had challanged the government notification banning smoking scenes in films and television programmes stating that it violates the fundamental rights of film makers. Mr. Bhatt's lawyer Sandeep Sethi had argued that there is a regulatory body Censor Board which monitors what has to be shown and what cannot be shown in the films, therefore putting a blanket ban by the Ministry is violation of artists' Rights.

UNI SNG SLD RK2130

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