The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the Punjab government on a petition by film producer Prakash Jha seeking compensation for banning the screening of his 2011 film Aarakshan.
Aarakshan, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone, deals with caste-based reservation in the education system. An apex court bench of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice Anil R. Dave issued the notice after senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for Jha, told the court that the object of the plea was to send a message that such decisions by government officials were wrong.
Telling the court that compensation being sought by the film producer was symbolic in nature and even rupee one would serve the purpose of sending the message to the officials that they could not act contrary to the statutory provisions. Salve made it clear that if he was awarded compensation, it should come from the officials who took the decision of banning the screening of the film in Punjab in August 2011. The ban followed a similar decision in Uttar Pradesh.
The apex court Aug 19 last year quashed the two-month ban imposed by the Uttar Pradesh government on the screening of the film.
While quashing the suspension of the screening ordered by Uttar Pradesh, the court had said that "reservation is a very delicate and also one of the social issues and in a vibrant democracy, like our, public discussion is necessary for its functioning".