Method for determining whether the censorship on a film is justified and reasonable, clarified

Delhi High Court: Dealing with the issue of violation of fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression by banning a film made by the petitioner ‘The Texture of the Loss’, Rajiv Shakdher, Jheld that while imposing censorship it must be taken into account that it is permissible to maintain values and standards of society. The objectionable part should be seen from the point of view of a reasonable, strong minded, firm and courageous man. Denying the accusation put by Gaurav Sarin, the advocate for the respondent, that the film resulted in the crime of sedition and put down the charge by explaining the provisions of Section 124 A of Penal Code, 1860, the Court stated that the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) has completely misguided itself by not appreciating the context in which the statement under controversy, was made in the film. 

The Court also acknowledged the facts put forth by Colin Gonsalves, the advocate for the petitioner, regarding the flawed decision making process of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) which were in contravention to the scheme of the Cinematograph Act, 1952and the Rules framed under it. The Court was of the opinion that no opportunity was given to the petitioner under Section 4(2) of the Cinematograph Act which facilitates the applicant to represent his views regarding the issue. In addition to this, sub-rule (9) of Rule 22, which states that each member of the examination committee must record his/her opinion for censoring the film, was not followed.

The order which was passed by the FCAT was a disclaimer had to be included in the beginning of the film and two scenes of the film had to be deleted in order for the permission to be granted for the exhibition of the film. The main issue which was raised was not only regarding the decision which was given by CBFC and FCAT but the decision making process which was followed by them.

In the lights of the given facts it was held that the decision given by the FCAT was flawed and a ‘U’ certificate was issued to the subject film, without insertion of the disclaimer or the deletion/excisions as ordered by FCAT. Pankaj Butalia v. Central Board of Film Certification, 2015 SCC OnLine Del 9694decided on 25.05.2015

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.