The Bombay High Court Tuesday refused to pass any order granting interim relief to former chairman of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Pahlaj Nihalani, who had filed a petition after the CBFC ordered several cuts in his upcoming film Rangeela Raja.
Justice R I Chagla said that at this stage, the court was “not inclined to pass any order granting an interim relief…the petitioners are always open to seek review of order before revising committee or film certification appellate tribunal”. The court further said that “it is always open for the petitioner to move for review and this could have been done anytime after November 2” after the order was passed by the CBFC. But no review was filed by the petitioner, the court noted.
Justice Changla, the vacation judge, said it would be appropriate for the petitioner to move regular court on November 19 and that he could pursue alternative remedy until then.
Nihalani, in his petition filed through his lawyer Ashok Saraogi, had sought a direction to quash the CBFC’s November 2 order and grant the necessary certification — either Universal (U) or Universal with Adult (UA) — for the film produced by Nihalani titled Rangeela Raja, scheduled to be released on November 16.
The petition said that after the screening of the film, as per the system, if any portion is found objectionable, the producer is given opportunities to justify the scene and/or dialogue. Nihalani said that in his case, however, no such opportunity has been given to him. Nihalani said the CBFC has suggested unwanted cuts in the film.
The petition further said that “prima facie, if the cuts and the dialogues are taken into consideration, the same do not show any vulgarity of whatsoever nature”. Nihalani further said that only because he was the former chairman of the censor board and had been “very strict” during his tenure, he is now being harassed.
Advocate Advait Sethna told the court that the petitioner has in a malafide manner rushed to the court under the pretext of urgency. The petitioner being the ex-chairman of CBFC is expected to know the scheme and provisions more than anyone else. The petitioner under the provisions of Cinematograph Act, has the option of approaching the revising committee or the film certification appellate tribunal.
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