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A State Govt. cannot ban a film cleared by the Censors, says Tewari even as Court extends stay on Vishwaroopam

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NEW DELHI: The ban on Kamal Haasan‘s Vishwaroopam by the Tamil Nadu Government may turn out to be a major issue of the powers of the state vis-?-vis the Central Board of Film Certification which functions under the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry.



Even as I and B Minister Manish Tewari asked the Tamil Nadu government to reconsider its decision to ban the film, the Madras High Court stayed the release of the film till 28 January with the judge saying he would see the film for himself on 26 January before a final decision.



Tewari said, "The Supreme Court of India in Prakash Jha‘s matter (relating to Aarakshan) had the occasion of considering the various provisions of the Cinematograph Act and juxtaposing them against the law and order powers which the state government has under the Constitution."



"And the Supreme Court was very categorical that Article 246, seventh schedule, list one, entry sixty gives the central government the powers to certify films for exhibition and once the Central Board for Film Certification has taken a particular view, it binds all the other instrumentalities of the state."



"I suggest that Tamil Nadu government peruse that judgment of the Supreme Court in Prakash Jha‘s case before coming to any conclusion which may fall foul of the very clear directive which the court has given," he said.



Haasan had approached the Court following protests from Muslim groups asking to impose a ban on the film. The film was slated for release this Friday.



Earlier reacting to the demand for a ban, Haasan had written in a letter: "While I am touched by the voices in support for me and my film, I am appalled at how my film is construed to be against my Muslim brothers."



"I have been ruthlessly used as a vehicle by small groups who seek political profile. Icon bashing is a great way to be noticed when you are not one yourself. It is happening again and again. Any neutral and patriotic Muslim will surely feel pride on seeing my film. It was designed for that purpose," Haasan‘s said.

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