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HC declines to stay ban on 'The Da Vinci Code'

Written by: Staff
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Chennai, Jun 16 (UNI) Madras High Court today declined to stay the Tamil Nadu Government Order banning the screening of controversial film ''The Da Vinci Code'' in the state.

When the petition, seeking to quash the ban came up for hearing, Justice M Chokalingam adjourned the case to June 23 for further hearing after ordering notices to the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry and Tamil Nadu Home Secretary.

The judge also ordered issuance of notices to the Censor Board of Film Certification and Commissioner of Police, Chennai, on the petition filed by Sony Pictures Releasing of India Limited, which was authorised to screen the film in India.

Appearing for the petitioner, senior counsel A L Somiyaji said the state government had no power to suspend the screening of the film, especially after the Supreme Court held that there was no bar on screening the movie in the country.

The state government's contention that public peace and tranquillity would be disturbed if the film was allowed to be screened could not be a valid ground for imposing a ban on the film, he said.

He said the Censor Board had cleared the screening only after holding discussions with the representatives of the Christian community which had agreed to the screening of the film.

Moreover a ''disclaimer'', stating the film was totally based on fiction, was being shown at the start and end of the film, Mr Somiyaji said.

Opposing any stay on the ban order, Mr P S Raman, Additional Advocate General, appearing for the state government, argued the Commissioner of Police had powers to suspend the screening of the film, considering public peace and law and order.

The Police Commissioner could decide whether a film could be given permission for being screened or not, he added.

UNI XR/WS SHB KP1651

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