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Madras High Court ordered that Police Permission is not required to stage Plays in the State

Jan 24, 2013 11:29 IST

The High Court of Madras on 23 January 2013 ordered that staging plays in Tamil Nadu doesn’t require any sort of Police Permission and it also explained that some provisions of the Tamil Nadu Dramatic Performances Act, 1954 were unconstitutional.  

The bench of Madras High Court led by Justice K. Chandru in its verdict stated that the definition to the objectionable performance mentioned in the law was quite unclear and thus it can’t be brought within the restrictions allowed in the Article 19 (2) of Constitution of India. The Bench also found that Under Section 3 and Section 4 of the Constitution of India, the power conferred on the State government and the Police Commissioner/District Collectors respectively are wide and discretionary and thus it violates the provisions mentioned under Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The decision of the High Court came in context of the petition filed by a Journalist, N. V. Sankaran alias Gnani, who runs a theater group Pareeksha. Dramatic Performance Act 1876 was passed to regulate theatre during colonial rule.

Different Articles of Constitution of India and provisions mentioned under it

Part iii, Fundamental Rights: Right to Equality Right to Freedom
Article 14 - Equality before law - The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
Part iii, Fundamental Rights: Right to Freedom
Article 19 - Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc. (1) All citizens shall have the right- (a) to freedom of speech and expression
Article 19 (2) of Constitution of India - Nothing in sub clause (a) of clause ( 1 ) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

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