The recent ban on screening of  film 'Aarakshan' (Hindi) in some States like Uttar Pradesh  has created some furore.   Though the film has been cleared by Censor Board, some State Governments citing possible law &  order problems have banned the film in their respective States which amounts to denial of freedom of  expression.

The moot point here is how  State Governments can ban a film when it is cleared by Central Censor Board which is a statutory body.  If anything objectionable is there,  it is the look out of Censor Board and  a blanket ban by  State Governments on the pretext of law & order problems has no merit.   This led the producers went to  Supreme Court which cleared the decks for release of film in  Uttar Pradesh.

On one onside, our Courts are overloaded with large pendency, but we are forced to knock the doors of judiciary for such petty cases which need not require court intervention when the films are cleared by an autonomous body like  Censor Board.   Of course the  ban on the screening of 'Aarakshan',  has helped producers to  get some wide  publicity for their film.  But the  whole episode reflects one fact that a over-cautious Govt would have to bear the brunt of public anger.

To avert such situation in future,  we  need to  consider some amendments in the Censor Board Act  which should have some sweeping powers  with regard to film certification so that this kind of flimsy grounds  don't force the litigants to  approach higher judiciary.

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