The Delhi high court on Wednesday sought response of the Union government and the censor authorities on two pleas challenging denial of certification for public screening of the films ‘Kaum de Heere’ and ‘Textures of Loss’.
While ‘Kaum de Heere’ is a Punjabi movie that allegedly glorifies the assassination of Indira Gandhi by Satwant Singh, Beant Singh and Kehar Singh, ‘Textures of Loss’ is a documentary on those affected by the violence in Kashmir.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher issued notices to the ministry of information and broadcasting, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), seeking their replies on the pleas by the makers of the two movies.
The HC listed the Punjabi movie’s plea for hearing on March 12 and the documentary’s on February 26.
‘Kaum de Heere’ (which translates to ‘gems of the community’) was initially granted ‘A’ certification but later barred from release in India by the government.
The movie’s producers, Sai Cine Productions, challenged the CBFC’s August 2014 and FCAT’s October 2014 orders by which the film’s certification was withdrawn.
The production company has contended that the censor board “had no factual or legal basis for withdrawal of certificate” after granting it.
Additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain and advocate Anurag Ahluwalia appeared for the ministry and the CBFC, and argued that the withdrawal was done according to the Cinematograph Act, 1952, on the orders of the central government.
The plea about ‘Textures of Loss’ was filed by its producer-director Pankaj Butalia, represented by senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, challenging the December 2013 and September 2014 orders of the CBFC and FCAT, respectively. Both the authorities had directed Butalia to insert a disclaimer as well as make cuts in the documentary to get the nod for public screening.
Butalia, however, contended that if Vishal Bhardwaj’s ‘Haider’ could be screened despite having explicit scenes and allegedly showing the army in bad light, why was his documentary being asked to make cuts and insert disclaimers.