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|February 26, 2001||
Court orders screening of film on communal violence
The Bombay high court ordered Doordarshan Television Network to screen Anant Patwardhan's documentary film, Father, Son and Holy War during prime time within the next six weeks, on February 23.
A two-part, two hour long documentary on the relationship between male dominance and communal violence in India was completed in 1994 after seven years of shooting.
It was submitted for telecast on DD in 1995 and when it failed to respond, the second and third preview copies were submitted. Even then when no reply was received from DD for the next two years, Mr Patwardhan sent a legal notice to the DD asking them to take a decision in the matter.
However, in 1998 a writ petition was filed in the Bombay high court urging to order the telecast of film at prime time on the national network.
Division bench consisting of justice AP Shah and justice S Vajibdar in their order directed that the film be screened during the evening slot meant for award winnings films and DD should make a publicity in advance for the same.
While arguing on behalf of Mr Patwardhan, Advocate PA Sabastin submitted before the bench that the freedom of speech and right to information of the public at large were curtailed by DD's arbitrariness.
Meanwhile, DD informed the court that the film in question was also considered good enough for a national award but was unsuitable for a common man as it depicts a problem but does not offer any solution.
The judges noted that by this logic, one should not report anything about an unsolved problem, like an earthquake. Besides, it would be better to curb the filmmaker than to ban the reportage.
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