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On-screen smoking norms to be reviewed

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to examine the validity of the Centre's statutory rules for regulating the smoking scenes in films and making it mandatory to show anti-tobacco messages in the beginning and middle of a movie.

A bench of justices P Sathasivam and F M I Kalifulla, which has been examining the earlier rules framed by the Centre, said it would also examine the new notification issued by the Centre for regulating smoking scenes.

It allowed film-maker Mahesh Bhatt, who had challenged the Centre's earlier rules, to file a fresh petition against the new notification.

"These are important issues. We will look into new rules and compare it with the earlier rules," the bench said 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.

"....the health spots and disclaimers, the films showing use of the tobacco products shall also be required to display an anti-tobacco health warning in the form of a static message during the period of display of the tobacco products or their use in the films," the notification said.

Earlier the Delhi High Court had refused to hear Bhatt's plea against the notification on the ground that the matter is pending at the Apex Court.

(Agencies)

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