India's Supreme Court rejects pleas to ban "Da Vinci Code"

Mon Jun 12, 9:19 AM ET

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's highest court has rejected pleas to ban the film "The Da Vinci Code", saying the plot which suggests Jesus was married was fiction and not offensive.

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court threw out separate petitions from the All India Christian Welfare Association and an individual to outlaw the film made by director

Ron Howard.

"When the censor board and the government has cleared the screening of the film, what is the objection?" the bench said in an order Monday.

"You yourself accept it is fiction and not fact, then there should not have any objection," the two judges in their order told the association, which has been at the forefront of a Christian campaign to ban the film in India.

The states of Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Punjab and Tamil Nadu have already banned the film but it is drawing full houses in some of India's remaining states.

Nagaland, which has a large Christian population, has also banned the sale, distribution or reading of Dan Brown's book on which the movie is based.

The government has approved the film to run for adult viewing without any cuts, but carrying an extended disclaimer at the beginning and the end saying it is a work of fiction.

The thriller, which has been dubbed into four Indian languages, had been due to hit India's screens on May 26, but was delayed by more than a week after distributors disputed the need for such a disclaimer.

Christians make up less than two percent of India's 1.1 billion population.

Howard's production generated 231.8 million dollars worldwide in its opening days, the second-biggest film debut in history. The book has sold over 40 million copies worldwide.


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