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Seven years on, Dhanush flick 'Velaiyilla Pattathari' lands in trouble

Justice SM Subramaniam issued the orders on a petition filed in by Cyril Alexander, convener of Tamil Nadu People’s Forum for Tobacco Control.

Published: 30th October 2021 03:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th October 2021 03:58 AM   |  A+A-

Actor Dhanush

Actor Dhanush (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered the Tamil Nadu government to proceed with further actions within six weeks against the producer of 2014 Dhanush film Velaiyilla Pattathari. The film, which was produced by the actor himself, had run into a huge controversy over the cigarette smoking scenes shown in it, and during its promotion.

Justice SM Subramaniam issued the orders on a petition filed in by Cyril Alexander, convener of Tamil Nadu People’s Forum for Tobacco Control. The order was directed to the Tamil Nadu Health Secretary and the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (DPH), with the latter having already issued a legal notice to the producer.

The petitioner had prayed for directions to the Tamil Nadu Health Secretary for taking action against the film producer and the Union Secretary for Information and Broadcasting for acting upon the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC), and for dereliction of duty in allowing the scenes.

Absence of smoking disclaimers in films is a legal violation: Petitioner

The petitioner said advertisement banners erected in front of theatres across TN carried the picture of the lead actor Dhanush smoking, a punishable act under Section 5 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisements and Regulations of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 and Rule 9 (2) of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisements and Regulations of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) (Amendment) rules, 2004, as amended on 27 Oct., 2011.

The absence of a disclaimer, which must have been screened in the beginning and in the middle of the film, is a serious violation of the law, he contended. The counsel for the producer stated that all the objectionable posters and stills were removed, and promised that no such illegalities would be repeated again. A letter of apology was also submitted to the CBFC. The government counsel, KMD Muhilan, informed the court that authorities had issued legal notice against the producer. Further action could not be taken due to pendency of the writ petition.

Justice Subramaniam observed that tobacco, a public health hazard, is responsible for an estimated eight lakh deaths annually in India. Treatment of tobacco-related diseases, and the loss of productivity caused costs the country nearly `13,500 crores annually, He said the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisements and Regulations of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 is to be considered as an important legislation to protect the public health with reference to ‘Right to Life’ enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Thus, violations within the ambit of the legislation is to be taken cognisance and such violators are to be prosecuted.



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