SC asks CBFC, Centre to respond to filmmaker Amol Palekar’s plea
The rules permitting pre-censorship of movies have come under the judicial scanner for the first time, with veteran actor Amol Palekar challenging them.india Updated: Apr 17, 2017 20:55 IST
The rules permitting pre-censorship of movies have come under the judicial scanner for the first time, with veteran actor Amol Palekar challenging them.
Acting on his petition, a bench headed by justice AK Sikri issued notices to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and the Centre.
Palekar has argued that the decisions on making cuts and denying certification are largely arbitrary in nature. The provisions, which are 47 years old, have failed to keep up with the times, he said in his petition.
The 72-year-old actor wants relaxation in the censorship of films and said that the absence of a member with a legal background in the CBFC often leads the board to “repeatedly violate filmmakers’ fundamental right to speech and expression”. He also cited instances to highlight the arbitrary nature of censorship.
In the internet era, Palekar argued, several provisions of the law were redundant. He has also demanded that recommendations of the Shyam Benegal Committee, which was set up to look into the norms and best practices on film certification, be put into action.
“The rules have to change in the present days... internet and social media dominate,” read his petition.
Palekar said that the CBFC routinely demands cuts of scenes or dialogues, failing which it denies certificates to films for arbitrary reasons like: “Remove ‘Maan ki Baat’ from a dialogue; get a NOC from the PM’s office for the title of the film ‘Modi Kaa Gaon’.”
“When content on television and internet is free of censorship, the same content being altered, cut or deleted before being shown in a cinema hall is an attack on our right to equality,” the petition said.
Palekar clarified he was not asserting his right to absolute freedom of speech. But, “in light of new technologies and developments, considering the paradigm shift in mass media, it’s the need of the hour that we redefine, reclaim and resurrect contours of our individual freedoms. The law must adapt itself to cope with new situations if it has to satisfy human needs and to meet the contemporary problems of life”, he stated in the petition before the Supreme Court.