Film screening: Respondents’ replies sought on Maalik ban
LAHORE: Justice Shams Mehmood Mirza of Lahore High Court on Monday sought replies from respondents on a petition challenging the federal government’s decision to withdraw the film censor board certificate for exhibition of the film Maalik.
The judge directed the respondents – the federal government, Film Censor Board and the Punjab government – to file their replies by June 27.
Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique, the petitioner’s counsel, said that the Film Censor Board had allowed the exhibition of the film but the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Heritage had issued a notification on April 27, banning the exhibition of the film. He said after the 18th Amendment, the government had no authority to ban any film. Matters pertaining to motion pictures had been devolved to provinces, he said.
He said the film’s content dealt with the issue of corruption, a hot topic in the prevailing circumstances post the Panama Leaks. He said it was not likely that the film would create unrest among the masses. “This film neither challenges the sovereignty of the state nor is it against social values. Yet the government has banned its exhibition in cinemas across the country.”
He said it was high time that people were informed about the evils of corruption. “The people’s right to watch this movie is protected by Article 19 of the Constitution.” Violation of Article 19 is void in term of Article 8 and the ministry’s notification was not in accordance with the law as directed in Articles 4 and 5 of the Constitution, he said. He requested the court to declare the notification illegal.