Censorship and examination board cannot refuse to grant Certification to a film without following fair procedure

High Court of Kerala: The Court while considering a plea filed against the impugned judgment passed by the learned Single Judge, directing the appellants- respondents to grant certification to a film titled KA Bodyscapes, the Bench comprising of Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Devan Ramachandran, JJ., observed that the Court does not have the power to grant or deny certification to a film as it is to be decided by the competent authority although it has power to adjudge that a film or artistic work ought not to be denied certificate without adopting a fair process hence the respondent/petitioners film cannot be denied certification on grounds of obscenity, vulgarity, depravity etc without giving an opportunity to the petitioner to be heard .The above decision was observed since the main aim of the censorship and examination board is to render the film, so far as possible, viewable by attuning it to be in conformity with the statutory guidelines and not to condemn it without a fair process.

The appellant/respondents  filed an appeal against the impugned judgment of the learned Single Judge contending that since the film contained certain scenes of vulgarity and objectionable content hence it was refused certification by the revising committee constituted to examine the film. However, the Court rejected the contentions of the appellant/respondents stating that the nature of the film, its theme and content would require a more tolerant examination by the highest authority under the Act and Rules i.e. the Board, which will after considering the scenes and allowing the respondent/petitioner an opportunity to rectify/modify the same as the case may be pass final order. The Court observed that the main aim of the Cinematography Act, 1952  is to make a film copacetic and suitable for viewing by removing the objectionable content rather than condemning the film into the confines of no access therefore since respondent/petitioners have invested considerable energy, time, and money into the film hence, under the pretence of censorship it cannot be refused certification without following a fair process. [Union of India v. Jayan Cherian , 2016 SCC OnLine Ker 27281, decided on 2nd December, 2016]

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