New Delhi: Giving the go ahead for the screening of Amitabh Bachchan starrer 'Aarakshan' in Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court on Friday quashed the ban imposed by the state, saying public discussion and dissent are necessary in a vibrant democracy.

A bench of justices Mukundakam Sharma and A R Dave lifted the state's two-month ban on the film in UP holding that the restriction would go against the democratic value of free speech and expression.

Though UP government defended its decision, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh, which had also stopped the film's release, told the court that they have already decided to permit its screening.

"In a democracy, particularly in a vibrant democracy like ours, public discussion is necessary for its smooth running," said the bench.

"In fact, such discussions bring awareness on social issues for effective working of the democracy. In fact, when there is such public discussion and dissent there would be a informed public opinion which is necessary for our society," observed justice Sharma, while writing the order.

The apex court passed the order while upholding the writ petition filed by film maker Prakash Jha challenging the decision of UP, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh. to suspend the screening of the film.

(Agencies)