Censor Board chief Leela Samson quits over MSG nod, govt denies interference

  • Agencies, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 17, 2015 00:15 IST

A day after Censor Board chief Leela Samson quit over clearance to controversial film Messenger of God, the government denied any interference in the board's functioning.

"There was no government interference in clearing the film Messenger of God", minister of state for Information and Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Rathore told reporters.

Hitting out at Samson, Rathore said, "The Censor Board is an independent body, it needs to behave like one."

He also said that the decision of the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) over the film should be final and acepted by all.

Leela Samson announced her resignation after the tribunal's reported clearance to Messenger of God featuring Dera Saccha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a lead role.

Asked if she was aware of media reports that the nod has been given by FCAT to the film's screening, Samson told PTI that "I hear so. Nothing in writing yet. Yet, it is a mockery of Central Board of Film Certification. My resignation is final. Have informed the (I&B) secretary".

The Censor Board had referred the issue of clearance to "Messenger of God" to FCAT. The film was slated to hit the screens on Friday.

Asked why she has decided to quit, she did not specifically refer to the reported clearance to the film but said the reasons cited are alleged "interference, coercion and corruption of panel members and officers of the organization who are appointed by the ministry."

According to Samson, "...having to manage an organization whose Board has not met for over nine months as the ministry had no funds to permit the meeting of members."

She said the term of all the members and the chairperson of the Censor Board "are over. But since the new government failed to appoint a new Board and Chairperson, a few were given extension and asked to carry on till the procedure was completed."

"However, recent cases of interference in the working of the CBFC by the ministry, through an 'additional charge' CEO, and corrupt panel members has caused a degradation of those values that the members of this board of CBFC andcChairperson stood for," Samson alleged.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson of Sirsa (Haryana)-based Dera Sachcha Sauda said "as per our information, FCAT has cleared the movie for release. But a written order is awaited."

also read

MSG row: Censor board chief quits, alleges govt interference with films
Show comments