Amol Palekar Files Plea for Total Revamp of Censorship Laws

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to respond to Palekar’s petition.

Published17 Apr 2017, 04:36 PM IST
Cinema
2 min read

Veteran actor-filmmaker Amol Palekar has challenged India’s Cinematography Act or censorship laws at the Supreme Court. The act has not been contested for 47 years.

In an interview to NDTV, Palekar said that he seeks a complete revamp of the archaic act.

I have come to the court seeking a complete revamp of the Cinematography Act. Now in the modern world of Internet, social media, the present set has to change.
Amol Palekar, Actor-filmmaker
He also pointed out that the CBFC does not have any member with a legal background, which leads the board to repeatedly violate filmmakers’ fundamental right to speech and expression.

According to a report by The Wire, the petition also highlights the arbitrary nature of the censorship.

A still from <i>Lipstick Under My Burkha</i>, which was not allowed to release for being lady-oriented. (Photo Courtesty: Twitter)
A still from Lipstick Under My Burkha, which was not allowed to release for being lady-oriented. (Photo Courtesty: Twitter)
…the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) routinely demands cuts of scenes or dialogue, failing which it denies certification to films for arbitrary reasons: Remove ‘Mann ki baat’ from a dialogue; get a NOC from the PM’s office for the title of the film ‘Modi ka Gaon‘, saying films are unsuitable for release because they are ‘lady-oriented‘ … whereas films like Parched, Saat Uchchkke, Udta Punjab were cleared with an ‘A’ certificate but without any cuts [despite containing abusive language].
Palekar’s writ petition

There’s a note on the judiciary as well with reference to the Allahabad high court’s demand that four scenes be cut from Jolly LLB 2 for ‘defaming the judiciary’.

Till now, the judiciary has played a role of a saviour of citizen’s fundamental rights. With this decision, one more predator of artistic freedom has emerged which needs to be seriously scrutinised. 

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to respond to Palekar’s petition challenging the “pre-censorship” of movies. According to PTI, in its notice to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, the bench has asked the Centre to direct the CBFC to implement the recommendations of the Shyam Benegal-led panel.

Also read: There’s No Room for Censorship in a Democracy: Shyam Benegal

The committee, which had been set up by the I&B Ministry to revamp the censor board, too had recommended a new “Adult with Caution” category, as well as two classifications under the Universal under Adult Supervision, or U/A, rating – U/A 12+ and U/A 15+.

(Inputs: PTI, NDTV, The Wire)

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