No re-censoring of films needed after giving subtitles: HC
Producers will no longer have to submit their films for re-censoring after adding subtitles, as the Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday struck down a circular issued by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on April 27, 2018, mandating the re-censoring, terming it “legally unsustainable”.
The Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association (IMPPA) had challenged the circular in the HC. A bench comprising justice Akil Kureshi and justice SJ Kathawalla held there was a variance in the stand taken by the CBFC in the affidavit filed in reply to the petition and the circular.
While the circular mandated producers to submit films for certification along with subtitles and prohibited exhibition of films that get subtitles inserted after the certification, the affidavit submitted by the board stated producers will be required to intimate and obtain an endorsement on the certificate, if they subsequently insert subtitles.
Advocate Ashok Saraogi, who represented IMPPA, complained that producers are not averse to intimating the board and seeking endorsement, but their objection is to the circular, which compels them to go through the time-consuming process of certification merely for adding subtitles.
Advocate Advait Sethna, who argued for the board, said the circular was intended to prevent mischief of introducing subtitles in the form of alterations after the film is certified, without reporting the change to the board. Sethna said the circular was issued after noticing several instances of films being exhibited with the scenes or dialogues specifically ordered to be deleted by the board. The bench noticed that it was reasonable for the board to seek intimation and endorsement of additions in terms of subtitles, but it cannot prohibit insertion of subtitles.
The bench said subsequent exhibition of a film in certain regions where its language is not generally known to the people will definitely necessitate insertion of subtitles. “There is no earthly reason, why the board should not allow producers to do this,” said the bench. It also noticed there was no statutory provision that empowered CBFC to issue the circular.
The HC has now directed CBFC to allow producers to follow the procedure mentioned in the affidavit — obtain endorsement on the certificate issued for the film.