New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed Tamil Nadu government to give an opportunity of hearing to film producer-director Sohan Roy who has challenged the state's decision to ban the screening of his film Dam 999.
A bench of justices A K Ganguly and J S Khehar said the State Home Secretary shall give the hearing to Roy and his counsel at Chennai on December 12 and thereafter pass a "reasoned" order on the issue by December 16.
The apex court told counsel Krishan Venugopal that if the filmmaker was not satisfied with the order of the Home Secretary he was at liberty to seek alternative legal remedy.
Tamil Nadu's Additional Advocate General Gurukrishna Kumar and counsel Srikala told the bench that Roy was earlier given an opportunity to be heard but he had declined the same on the ground that his petition was pending in the apex court.
The filmmaker, in his petition, questioned the subjective satisfaction of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on whose directions the order of ban dated November 24 was passed.
Alleging the decision was based on "narrow political objectives", he said the order had no constitutional basis, much less legal basis.
He said the state suspended the screening of the movie without hearing him or affording him an opportunity for clarification.
The "arbitrary, unilateral and unjustified act" violated the petitioner's fundamental right to freedom guaranteed under Article 19(1) (a), contended the petition.
"The fundamental right to freedom can be reasonably restricted only for the purpose mentioned in Article 19(2). The restriction must be justified on the anvil of necessity and not on the quicksand of convenience of political expediency," Roy had stated in his petition.