The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from the Centre on a petition moved by actor-director Amol Palekar, who has sought to reclaim “contours of individual freedoms” by taking away the Censor Board’s authority of pre-censorship of films. A bench led by Justice A K Sikri issued notices to the government and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on the petition, which has challenged provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 and the Certifications Rules of 1983.
“In light of new technologies and developments (and) considering the paradigm shift in mass media, it’s the need of this hour that we redefine, reclaim and resurrect contours of our individual freedoms,” stated Palekar’s petition. The petition has appealed for quashing Section 4(1)(iii) of the Act, which empowers CBFC to carry out cuts. Claiming that it amounts to pre-censorship, the petition says that filmmakers face discrimination of sorts when their “content” gets “cut/altered/ deleted, and thereby being censored …when exhibited in a cinema hall”, even as no such curb exists on TV. “This amounts to discrimination barred by Article 14 (equality) of our Constitution,” he stated.
CBFC chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani said, “Cinematograph Act does not require any changes as such. In various countries, certification bodies follow a rating system which have around six to seven ratings, whereas in India we have only three ratings — A, U and A/U. Due to this system, many a times it is not possible to give certificate to some films without any cuts.”
With inputs from Garima Mishra in Pune