The Bombay High Court has cut decision of the Central Board of Film Certification headed by Pahlaj Nihalani.
The HC ordered that Udta Punjab be granted a certificate in the ‘Adult’ category and allowed to be screened with one cut and a disclaimer.
The court has served a reminder that certification, and not censorship, is the real job of the CBFC.
The HC also said that the power to order changes and cuts must be exercised only in line with provisions of the Constitution and Supreme Court orders. Its mandate is not to interfere with the film-maker’s creative process and freedom of expression.
The CBFC has been advised not to look at cinema like a ‘grandmother’ and instead move with the times and understand the impulses of present-day creators who may have a candid and direct manner of storytelling.
It has reminded the Board that a film should be seen as one whole and its scenes and dialogues be not taken out of context. The CBFC had no business in the first place to appoint itself the guardian of the honour of Punjab.
The Shyam Benegal Committee, which recently submitted its report on norms relating to film certification, recommended that the CBFC should be nothing more than a certification body. It has suggested that films be classified on the basis of their suitability to different age groups.
Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) is a Statutory body under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, regulating the public exhibition of films under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act 1952.
Films can be publicly exhibited in India only after they have been certified by the Central Board of Film Certification.
The Board, consists of non-official members and a Chairman (all of whom are appointed by Central Government) and functions with headquarters at Mumbai. It has nine Regional offices.