The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that it could be easier for filmmakers to obtain Censor Board certificates for the release of their movies if they abstained from depicting cigarettes and alcohol on screen.
A Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi observed that by showing cigarettes and liquor on screen,filmmakers were not providing viewers with anything necessary. Why dont you make films without cigarettes and liquor. You make a film without them and you will get a certificate easily. You are not supplying the viewers with something essential by showing cigarettes and liquor, said the Bench.
Shooting down an argument by the counsel for filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt as he complained about not getting a certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification for an unedited release of his movie,Raaz-3,the Bench said: We could understand if you are showing food or water. We dont have any problem with that but these (cigarettes and liquor) are not a must.
The court was hearing an appeal by the Centre against a Delhi High Court ruling,which,on a plea by Bhatt,had set aside a ban on depiction of smoking on screen after calling it a violation of fundamental rights and artistic freedom. While the apex court stayed the operation of the HC order,the Union Health Ministry came out with subsequent notifications,reinforcing the ban. The notification brought a prohibition on print media but failed to state anything about such scenes in electronic media.
On Tuesday,V Shekhar,appearing for the ministry,informed the court that a comprehensive notification to cover both forms of media had been made after taking into account the views of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and it now awaited a signature of the minister concerned.