This was reported by Times of India
Unlike other states in India, theatre groups in Tamil Nadu must submit a copy of the script for any theatre play to the Police at least seven days prior to the performance. Failing to adhere to rule can result in a prison term of up to three months or a fine, or both.
According to Gnani, the Tamil Nadu Dramatic Performances Act of 1954 is a relic of a pre-Constitution enactment by the British who wanted to muzzle the Independence movement. The writer explained that it should have no place in a sovereign democracy like India.
Though the Act does not demand submission of every script of a play, the commissioner’s office has applied this as a blanket requirement irrespective of the play’s potential to cause a breach of peace, Gnani said.
Justice K. Chandru, before whom the writ petition came up for hearing, asked the advocate-general of Tamil Nadu to submit his response, as the matter pertains to legislation, and posted the matter to 6 June 2012 for further hearing.
Lack of artistic sensibility
“The censoring is done by someone of the rank of an inspector who has no artistic or literary skills to judge a script,” said Gnani. “Vesting such discretion in the hands of the commissioner of police, who, with great respect, has neither artistic nor aesthetic sensibility to judge whether a play is objectionable is perilous.”
The police are applying the ‘pre-censor’ power even to plays in open spaces such as parks and beach as well as street theatre, Gnani said: “Street theatre throughout the world is known to be a spontaneous and improvised form performed without a prior script,” he said. “It is impossible to write a prior script for street theatre. This is similar to asking a political leader to submit a written speech before he delivers every speech.”
The Times of India – 23 April 2012:
Stop police censorship of plays, writer appeals to high court