Special Correspondent

"Central Board cleared it after applying all guidelines including public order"

Centre is yet to pass any order: Additional Solicitor-General of South IndiaArguments to continue on Thursday

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Government was not justified in prohibiting the public exhibition of The Da Vinci Code after an expert body had given it the censor certificate, argued former Additional Advocate-General and senior counsel A.L. Somayaji.

When a writ petition, filed by the Sony Pictures Releasing India Limited, challenging the Government order "suspending" the screening of the film, came up for hearing before Justice Prabha Sridevan on Wednesday, counsel argued that the Central Board of Film Certification had cleared the film only after applying all the guidelines stipulated in the Cinematography Act, including public order.

"Once the Board certifies the film after giving due consideration to public order, it is not open to the State Government to pass the impugned order. If permitted, it would amount to allowing the State Government to sit in judgment over the expert body," Mr. Somayaji said.

He also pointed out that a public interest litigation petition seeking the withdrawal of the certification and banning of the screening was dismissed by the Supreme Court on the ground that there was no merit in the plea.

However, the Additional Solicitor-General of South India, V.T. Gopalan, said that the Centre, which received the impugned order passed by the Commissioner of Police, was yet to pass any order. He said the Centre was seized of the matter, and added that before any decision could be taken the petitioners moved the High Court.