“Individualised hyper-sensitive private censor intrusion”

Three cheers for Justice Raghu Ram of the Andhra Pradesh High Court

Here’s what the good judge has to say to competitive intolerance (via Varnam):

Rejecting the (state government’s arguments in support of the ban on The Da Vinci Code), Mr. Justice Raghu Ram, in his 48-page judgment, said, “The Constitution does not confer or tolerate such individualised hyper-sensitive private censor intrusion into and regulation of guaranteed freedom of others.”

Tracing the concept of freedom of speech and expression and its necessity for the blossoming of the human mind, he noted that the Censor Board had cleared the film with appropriate conditions. A film was not like a billboard or hoarding that involuntarily affected innocent passersby. Those who purchased tickets to see the film made a conscious decision, and the state had no role to stop the screening.

Mr. Justice Raghu Ram said the authorities who passed the ban order had not even seen the film. The officer “mechanically certified” the veto of a few objectors rather than arriving at a decision based on informed satisfaction. This was “arbitrary, casual and [a] wholly irrational exercise of a very sensitive and responsible executive power, namely the regulation of a cherished, valued and guaranteed fundamental freedom of expression.” [The Hindu]

The lesson cost the government a mere Rs 22,500 (US$488). But a nice slap on the wrist, no? Or will they now try and amend the Constitution?

10 thoughts on ““Individualised hyper-sensitive private censor intrusion””

  1. Those who purchased tickets to see the film made a conscious decision, and the state had no role to stop the screening.

    Its funny how the only people who seem to care about the constitution are the judges. The rationale for the 3 arms of the government seems rather defeated when only one seems to *want* to govern.

  2. Was the excellent 1979 comedy movie “Life of Brian” ever released in India?

  3. Yeap. Secularism has been defeated – it is time to change the constitution to preserve secularism.

    BangaloreGuy, in our winner takes all parliamentary democracy there all only two branches – parliament and executive branch are one and the same. In this system it’s fairly easy for the winner to beat up on judiciary as the current communist speaker has done repeatedly.

  4. Chandra,

    I dont agree. The executive also has the “backbone” as a part of it. And this backbone is quite a law onto itself.

  5. BangaloreGuy, semantically, yes, there is an executive branch with its own institutions. I am talking about power of executive branch or rather the lack of power of legislature to hold executive branch accountable. If the majority in parliament (especially a clear majority) is in charge of executive branch (which is by parliamentary design), parliament is fairly useless with respect to keeping tabs on executive. We see that tamasha now, in fact, with regards to Office for Profit bill.

  6. the courts could clinically clear Da Vinci code but could not do anything for Water?? Spineless Shite if you ask me!

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