The eagerly awaited outcome of the hearing on Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam did not materialise on Monday, as the Madras High Court adjourned the case by a day.

Rajkamal Films International, represented by its partner S. Chandrahasan, which had filed the earlier petition seeking to restrain the Tamil Nadu government and the police from interfering with the release of the film, filed a fresh petition challenging orders of executive authorities under Section 144 Cr.PC prohibiting the film’s release.

Justice K. Venkataraman had on January 24 directed that the release be postponed till January 28. He saw a screening of the film on January 26.

On Monday, counsel P.S. Raman told the court that the petitioner would file a fresh petition challenging individual orders passed by authorities imposing a two-week ban on the film.

Mr. Justice Venkataraman orally observed that in the meantime, all possibilities to arrive at an amicable settlement could be explored. The nation’s unity was more important than individuals’ rights. Any action taken by the petitioner or the other side should not be at the cost of the unity of the nation.

In the fresh petition, the petitioner said it was a matter of regret that pre-censorship of the film had been resorted to by the Chennai Police Commissioner on an impermissible ground, viz., “inability of the State in maintaining law and order and in protecting and safeguarding the fundamental rights of the petitioner” including under Art.19 (1) (a) of the Constitution.

The very invocation of Section 144 Cr. PC in the face of a similar power having been expressly conferred under the Cinematograph Act was untenable and in any event was tantamount to colourable exercise of power. The directions issued by the government and the police were in gross violation of principles of natural justice. No opportunity was given to the petitioner before taking the impugned decision.

Both petitions are expected to come up before the court on Tuesday.