Bollywood’s trouble: Film certification tribunal revoked, now filmmakers will have to appeal against the decision of the censor board in the High Court itself


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4 minutes agoAuthor: Manisha Bhalla

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  • The cost of film producers will also increase and delay will also be there.
  • Ordinance was brought if the bill was not passed in the Lok Sabha

The Government of India has revoked the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal overnight. This has blocked a way for film producers to go into appeal against the censor board’s decision. The Central Government has issued the Tribunal Reforms (Rationalization and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021 two days ago.

Through this, eight different tribunals have been repealed. Which also includes the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal. Now any manufacturer who has objected to the decision of the censor board will have to appeal directly to the High Court itself. Film artists have called it a dark day for cinema. From Hansal Mehta to Vishal Bhardwaj, it has expressed anger by tweeting about it.

Producer-director and musician Vishal Bhardwaj has also expressed anger over the government’s decision through a tweet. Filmmakers believe that this will lead to many problems for the industry.

This was the work of the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT)
The Government of India formed the Film Certification Tribunal in 1983 under the Cinematograph Act. This tribunal could have appealed against the decision of the censor board. If the censor board ordered a cut or any correction and the filmmaker felt that the censor board’s order was not correct, they could have filed an appeal in the tribunal.

TP Aggarwal, President of the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (IMPA)

TP Aggarwal, President, Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (Impa)

Very Bad News: Impa
TP Agarwal, president of the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (Impa), told Dainik Bhaskar that the repeal of this tribunal is a bad news for the film industry. Till now we used to go to the tribunal against the decision of the censor board, then a lot of cases would also be settled. The tribunal itself issued the certificate, which was valid for us. There will hardly be any case where the High Court has had to go against the decision of the Tribunal. Now, if the tribunal is not there, it will take a long time to get a decision directly if it has to go to the High Court.

Films like Lipstick Under My Burka were passed by the tribunal.
Film critic Mayank Shekhar explains that after the censor board, the film maker should have a window where he can speak, how will he go directly to court after the censor board. This is a compensation for film makers. According to Mayank, the tribunal has always given important decisions. Many films like Lipstick Under My Burka have been judged in a short span of time. This tribunal, after objecting to the censor board, gave a certificate by suggesting changes in it as per the demand of the censor board. He had the authority to give the certificate, but now it has been completely abolished. The courts will see their 20–20-year cases or films. And, no one would want to get involved in a long and complicated case of court-court, lawyer etc.

Actress Poonam Dhillon has also been associated with this tribunal for quite some time.  They too are unhappy about this decision.

Actress Poonam Dhillon has also been associated with this tribunal for quite some time. They too are unhappy about this decision.

Tribunal member Poonam Dhillon also unhappy

In the year 2017, ‘Bhaskar’, with Poonam Dhillon, who became a member of this tribunal, spoke on this issue. Poonam, who was also the vice president of BJP Mumbai Metropolis, said that the tribunal was a shared platform between the censor board and the film producer. We used to watch not one but three films on the censor board’s objections. The changes that the producers brought in him were also seen many times, this saved everyone time, but now the producers have to go directly to the High Court. Anyway, the courts overloaded with serious cases do not have time to watch any film. ‘

According to Poonam Dhillon, no member of the tribunal was on salary. It was only Rs 2,000 to watch the film, which was not a huge amount for the tribunal members, but it was an important platform where the film disputes would be resolved quickly. Apparently, the film goes to the censor board only when it is ready for release. In such a situation, if the films are stuck in the courts, then the loss of the producer can be understood.

Film producer Anand Pandit often appears in favor of the central government, but he is also angry with the government for this decision.

Film producer Anand Pandit often appears in favor of the central government, but he is also angry with the government for this decision.

Watching movies is not the work of courts: Anand Pandit
Anand Pandit, producer of the films ‘Faces’ and ‘Big Bull’, says that there must have been a valid reason behind the government’s cancellation of this tribunal, but if I talk as a producer, then going to court about the controversy of the films is so It’s not easy. The courts are not able to settle the necessary cases on time, how will they see the films and making decisions for films is a technical work in itself. This is not the work of the courts.

Who are the members in the tribunal?
The government had decided that the retired judge of the High Court would be the chairman of this tribunal. It was also decided that the Central Government will appoint four more members in the Tribunal. However, no standard was set for who these four members could be. That is, the government could make anyone a member. In the Tribunal which was just repealed, retired Chief Justice Manmohan Sarin held the post of Chairman. The remaining four members in the tribunal in 2017 included Advocate Bina Gupta, journalist Shekhar Iyer, BJP leader Shazia Ilmi and BJP-linked film actress Poonam Dhillon. Later, the film Critic Saibal Chatterjee and Madhu Jain were included in place of Shazia Ilmi and Poonam.

Now producers’ expenses will increase and there will be delay
People associated with the film industry say that it was easy to go to the tribunal against the decision of the censor board. In this, only a simple application had to be given. The producers could present themselves before the tribunal and put forth their views. Now going to the High Court means that an appeal has to be made in a very legal way, a lawyer will also have to do it. We already have a high workload on the judicial system and in the case of Kovid this workload has increased further. This means that there may also be a delay in the decision of the High Court. This may delay the re-shooting of some scenes of the film as ordered and also release the film later. It can also be very harmful.

There was no consultation with the people of the film industry before taking such a big decision that would have an impact on the film industry. Today, many people in the industry are considered in the government’s good book. From time to time, he participates in many government campaigns and also supports it. But the government did not think it necessary to ask, seek or consult anything with them.

Ordinance brought
The government has released The Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021. Eight tribunals have been repealed through this ordinance. The judicial power of all these tribunals has been transformed. That is, the judicial right to hear the appeal till now was given to these tribunals, it has been given to the High Court or to the power board. In the case of film certification, this right has been given to the High Court.

The bill came in the Lok Sabha
Big producers say that the government has taken this decision right away. But in fact, the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021 was introduced in the Lok Sabha in February this year by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. But in the budget session, this bill was not brought for discussion for restoration. Hence, the ordinance has now been issued.

It was a matter of expanding the scope
The Shyam Benegal Committee was formed to improve the censorship of Indian films. This committee had suggested that even the general public, who want to protest against a film, should be allowed to apply to this tribunal. This will reduce the workload on the justice system and will also curb the people who go to the court for fame only.

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