The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Tamil Nadu government to hear the objections of Sohan Roy, producer and director of Hollywood film Dam 999, on December 12 and pass appropriate orders by December 16.
A Bench of Justices A.K. Ganguly and J.S. Khehar passed the order on a petition filed by Mr. Roy that challenged the ban on his film by the Tamil Nadu government.
Senior counsel Krishnan Venugopal, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the ban was imposed without hearing the petitioner, initially for two weeks and it was later extended.
However, Additional Advocate General for Tamil Nadu Guru Krishna Kumar said an opportunity of hearing was given and that was not availed. It was stated that the matter was pending in the Supreme Court and now the hearing was fixed for December 15.
The Bench said:
“The petitioner appears to be aggrieved by an Order dated November 24, purported to have been issued by the Principal Secretary, Home (Cinema) Department, whereby the exhibition of the film titled Dam 999 has been suspended in the State of Tamil Nadu for a period of two weeks.
“The said order was passed ex-parte as it was felt by the authorities that it was not reasonably practicable to give an opportunity of showing cause to the petitioner. It is common ground that thereafter the said order of suspension initially granted for a period of two weeks has been extended.
“An opportunity of hearing was given to the petitioner, which they have not availed of in view of the fact they are approaching this court. At this juncture, we direct that an opportunity of hearing may be given to the petitioner by the Author of the impugned order on 12th December, 2011 in his office between 11.00 a.m. and 12.00 noon. In the said hearing, the petitioner has to appear with his legal representatives.
“After hearing the petitioner, a reasoned order is required to be passed. We make it clear that this order is being passed by this court without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the parties.
“It is, however, open to the petitioner to avail of such remedy, if it is found that the order passed by the authorities after hearing him is not in his interest, as he may be advised.
“The authorities shall pass a reasoned order by December 16 and the same be communicated to the petitioner.”
Mr. Roy, in his petition, questioned the “subjective satisfaction” of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, purportedly arrived at based on “narrow political objectives.”