The Bombay High Court on April 9, 2018 posted for final hearing Amol Palekar’s petition challenging state rules that made the pre-censorship of scripts of plays by the Maharashtra state performance scrutiny board mandatory. The matter is listed on June 16, 2018. Read order here.
Under section 33(1)(wa) of the Bombay Police Act, the commissioner of police or superintendent of police frames rules for licensing and controlling places of public amusement (other than cinemas) and performance for public amusement including fairs. By these rules, for regulation in the interest of public order, decency or morality, prior scrutiny of such performances and of the script was made mandatory. After scrutiny, a certificate would be issued subject to conditions.
Mr Palekar filed the petition in 2016 before the Bombay High Court claiming that the rules were arbitrary and violated fundamental rights of the citizens and that Maharashtra was the only state in the country which has imposed such restrictions on creative freedom of an individual. He also challenged the authority of the board.
Amol Palekar has also filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking guidelines for pre-censorship of films. The matter is pending before the Supreme Court.
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