The Andhra Pradesh High Court today stayed the government order banning the screening of controversial film The Da Vinci Code in the state. The state government had issued orders on June 1 banning the screening after considering representations from various minority organisations calling for a ban on the grounds that the film would hurt the religious sentiments of Christians. Dealing with a batch of writ petitions filed by distributors seeking a stay on the government's orders, Justice Raghuram stayed the ban.
The court also directed the government to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 each to the film's producer and distributor. The judge observed that it was not proper on the part of the government to impose a ban just because some individuals and organisations had demanded it.
The verdict came 20 days after the Congress-led Andhra Pradesh government banned the screening.
"After taking into consideration the reports and complaints of members of minority community, particularly Christians, the government has come to the conclusion that exhibition of the film is likely to cause breach of peace and hurt religious sentiments," the ban order had said. It was made applicable throughout the state to English, Telugu and other language versions of the film.