CHENNAI: A student of class 12 who eloped with a 22-year-old boy with a criminal background and is now four months pregnant told the Madras High court that she was influenced by movies in which teens fell in love, ran away from home and got married at temples. Perturbed by the trend displayed in the films, the judges have summoned officials of the regional censor board.
Even as there are several ongoing arguments about the Censor Board in India getting into moral policing and violating freedom of expression — the latest episode being about the movie Lipstick Under My Burkha, to which the censors denied permission saying it talked about women’s “fantasies above life” (sic) — the division bench of the Madras High Court has given the film certification division one more sticking point, as the judges objected to the apparent display of what falls under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
Justices S Nagamuthu and Anitha Sumanth issued notice to officials of the regional censor board, asking them to appear before them and offer their explanation on March 27. “They are directed to appear before the court for purpose of explaining to the court as to why necessary action should not be taken against them, who are responsible for exhibiting such kind of cinemas involving POCSO Act offences,” the bench said on Monday.
The pregnant minor who appeared in court today did so after a Habeas Corpus petition (HCP) was filed by her parents after she went missing in May last year. Studying in class 12 in a school in Mayiladuthurai, a town in Nagapattinam district of central Tamil Nadu, had eloped with her boyfriend in May last year. She was traced in February.
According to a complaint from one Sundararajan, his daughter was found missing on May 26, 2016. He later came to know that her daughter had eloped with a local youth identified as Vimalraj (22). Mayiladuthurai police registered a ‘girl missing’ case.
Inquiry revealed that Vimalraj was involved in several criminal cases in the region, and that his father too had a criminal background.
After months, police traced the mobile phones of the young couple to Kozhikode but discovered when they reached there on February 10 that they had left the area.
The couple appeared before court when then came to know about the filing of the HCP on Monday.
The minor told the judges that she had eloped with Vimalraj on her own volition, as numerous Tamil films had shown similar stories.
Anguished, the bench orally observed that society had been spoiled by the exhibition of such bad films.