Justice Jain is heading the Bench hearing the Mullaperiyar case

The Supreme Court will hear on Thursday a writ petition filed by the producer and director of Hollywood film Dam 999, Sohan Roy, challenging the ban imposed by the Tamil Nadu government on the screening of his film in the State.

When counsel P.V. Dinesh, appearing for the petitioner Sohan Roy, made a mention before a Bench of Justices D.K. Jain and Anil R. Dave for urgent hearing of the case, Justice Jain told counsel: “Since I am heading the [Constitution] Bench hearing the Mullaperiyar dam case, I don't want to hear this matter. Let this matter be listed before some other Bench on Thursday.”

Mr. Roy, in his writ petition, questioned the “subjective satisfaction” of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaaa, purportedly arrived at based on “narrow political objectives,” and said that it should not come in the way of the right guaranteed to him under the Constitution. He said the impugned order dated November 24 had no constitutional, much less any legal basis, and did not come under limitations of reasonable restrictions.

He said the movie was made at a budget of $10 million and had received a certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification on November 21. The movie was ready for release on November 25 worldwide. However, the State of Tamil Nadu, suspended the exhibition/screening of the movie without hearing or affording him an opportunity to be heard. The arbitrary and unjustified action the part of the State of Tamil Nadu violated the fundamental right to freedom guaranteed under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution. The fundamental freedom under Article 19(1) (a) can be reasonably restricted only for the purpose mentioned in Article 19(2) — the restriction must be justified on the anvil on necessity and not the quicksand of convenience of political expediency.”