Cannot tell a filmmaker to delete this, delete that: HC

The CBFC had asked Butalia to cut three scenes from the documentary and insert a disclaimer.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Updated: April 11, 2015 3:50 am
Delhi High Court, Filmmaker Butalia, who had based his documentary on the Kashmir Valley region between 2005-2013, had approached the High Court in January this year against the cuts.

Commenting that the court “could not tell a filmmaker how he is to make his movie”, the Delhi High Court on Friday reserved its judgment on a plea filed by filmmaker Pankaj Butalia against cuts recommended by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in a documentary film on long-term violence in Kashmir.

“Which guidelines are being breached? The issue of Kashmir is a controversial issue but that cannot lead to a situation where I tell a filmmaker to delete this, delete that,” the court of Justice Rajiv Shakdher observed.

The remarks were made after Central government counsel Gaurav Sarin told the court that comments made in the documentary, Textures of Loss, could “incite a law and order situation”. Sarin, in his arguments, also stated that the government apprehended a “powder keg” situation in Kashmir and “a security threat or violence” if the documentary was allowed to be aired without cuts. He further argued that the board had only recommended a five-second cut in the documentary — which is over one-hour long — and said this was a “reasonable restriction” under Article 19(2) of the Constitution.

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Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for Butalia, had argued that the proposed cuts violated the filmmaker’s freedom of speech and expression.

The cuts proposed by the CBFC include parts of comments made during interviews of the father of a child killed during the 2010 stone-pelting episode in Srinagar, and the wife of a man arrested on allegations of being a militant.

Butalia, who had based his documentary on the Kashmir Valley region between 2005-2013, had approached the High Court in January this year against the cuts.

The CBFC had asked Butalia to cut three scenes from the documentary and insert a disclaimer that the views expressed in the film by individuals were solely their views.

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  1. S
    Sane
    Apr 12, 2015 at 1:40 am
    Some day this Censor Board will be DISMANTLED. That will a great day for freedom of speech in India.
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    1. S
      sir
      Apr 11, 2015 at 4:21 pm
      Excellent decision by the court, hopefully more filmmakers will take up such matters to court. Censor board function is only to certify to film based on which the public can decide if they want to or not want to watch a movie. This 'can cause law and order situation' excuse is used by govt to push its own agenda and hide truth from the people.
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      1. M
        Mukund
        Apr 11, 2015 at 11:34 am
        Today some of these judges are a spent force. If the government does not say wjo else will say. Will the judge say. many filmmakers ahve their own affilitaions and do what the country does not need. At that time who will judge. There has to be control over all these. No one in the Government stops them from kaing a film, but the filmmakers are such that they take liberty for granted and there is some judges dan cing to the tune of these filmmakers an filmpeople. Maybe these judges have their own agendas to move with.
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