VIJAYAWADA: The Andhra Pradesh High Court sought to know how the government can ban the exhibition of Chintamani Padya Natakam without banning the Chintamani novel.A Public Interest Litigation was filed challenging the decision of the government banning the stage play following objections raised by the Arya Vysya community over depiction of one of the characters belonging to their community in a bad taste.
Advocate Umesh Chandra PVG, on behalf of the petitioner, submitted that Chintamani Padya Natakam for the first time was enacted in 1920 and has been going on uninterruptedly since then. Umesh Chandra informed the High Court that the decision taken by the government banning the play strikes at the root of artistic freedom and freedom of expression, a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
Under Section 95 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a publication can be banned by the State government and a statutory authority Central Board of Film Certification exists for censoring and classifying feature films and there is no such body under any law for censoring a stage play. Banning the stage play by the state government, acting upon a representation submitted by a section, would be excessive use of authority without legal sanction, he informed the court.
The court sought to know as to how a stage play can be banned when such a ban was not imposed on the novel. The court asked the government to place before it the copy of representation given by the Arya Vysya community seeking ban on the play and asked the government and other respondents to file counters.