Noted actor-cum-filmmaker Amol Palekar has moved the Bombay high court challenging rules, which make pre-censorship of play scripts mandatory by the Maharashtra State Performance Scrutiny Board.
Noted actor-cum-filmmaker Amol Palekar has moved the Bombay high court challenging rules, which make pre-censorship of play scripts mandatory by the Maharashtra State Performance Scrutiny Board. Mr Palekar’s writ petition states that the rules are “arbitrary” and “violate” the fundamental rights of a citizen guaranteed under the Constitution of India.
Under section 33(1)(wa) of the Bombay Police Act, the commissioner of police or superintendent of police can frame rules for Licensing and Controlling Places of Public Amusement (other than cinemas) and Performance for Public Amusement including melas and tamashas. Based on these rules, scrutiny of performance and scripts of plays has been made mandatory “for regulation in the interest of public order, decency or morality” and only then a certificate is issued.
“This pre-censorship leads to curtailment of artistic freedom. Because of this, many historic plays have not been performed in its original form,” the petition states.
Mr Palekar said that over the years, he had to see performance of plays not in its original forms but only in its modified forms. The modification is on account of demands of altercations and cuts made by the scrutiny board.
Palekar further submitted that only Maharashtra and Gujarat has this rule of pre-censorship. Other states allow plays and drama without any altercations and modification. The petition came up for hearing before a division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M.S. Sonak, which adjourned it for a week.