Smoking scenes: Bhatt allowed to challenge new rules

The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt to challenge the validity of the Centre's new rules and subsequent notification for regulating smoking scenes in films and making it mandatory to show anti-tobacco messages in the beginning and middle of a movie.

A Bench led by Justice P Sathasivam said it would examine the matter after Bhatt files a fresh petition. "These are important issues. We will look into new rules and compare it with the earlier rules," said the Bench while asking Bhatt to file the petition within four weeks.

The new notification issued by the Ministry of Health on September 21, 2012 said anti-tobacco health spots of minimum 20 seconds shall be displayed at the beginning and the middle of the films displaying tobacco products and their use. The notification also stipulates strong editorial justification for any film displaying use of tobacco.

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