• Tribunal slams CBFC for “arbitrary” approach to certification

    June 13, 2016

    In a strongly worded order, the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) has pulled up the censor board for "arbitrary and capricious" approach in changing the certification of several films from adult to UA (which can be watched by all age groups with adult supervision).

    In its order dated May 24, the FCAT headed by Justice (retd) S K Mahajan listed 16 films including Dirty Picture, Dum Maro Dum, Desi Boyz, Heroine, NH 10, Badlapur, Hate Story 2 and 3 and said the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had changed the films' category without any explanation or transparency .

    CBFC set up in 1961, P 11 "We find that CBFC has been arbitrarily taking decisions about change of category without in any manner specifying as which guidelines are followed... In our view, the whole approach of the CBFC is totally arbitrary and capricious. Decisions are taken by the CBFC without any transparency and without even informing the applicants as to why the certificate has been refused," the FCAT said.
    The Udta Punjab controversy has opened the eyes of many around the country. In 2011- Dirty Picture, Desi Boyz and Dum Maaro Dum, in 2012- Kya Super Kool Hai Hum and Heroine, in 2013- Grand Masti and Shootout at Wadala and in 2015- Badlapur, NH10 and Hate Story 3. All these movies were listed by FCAT as having been downgraded rom A to U/A by CBFC.

    The order comes close on the heels of public criticism of censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani's decision to give 89 cuts to the movie Udta Punjab including references to the state and its cities with an adult certificate which many alleged was a politically motivated decision.On Friday , the Bombay HC rapped the censor board and asked it to stick to its job of certification rather than censorship.

    The FCAT order is related to Hindi film Yaara Silly Silly that had been given an A certificate in January for "derogatory , vulgar and double meaning dialogues". The producer wanted to show the film on TV and made certain voluntary cuts to get a UA certificate but the CBFC rejected the application. The filmmaker then approached the FCAT.

    The tribunal noted that the CBFC had not responded to its letters seeking comments but in another matter had asked FCAT to indicate provision regarding conversion of film from A or UA. There is no provision in the Cinematography Act but a facility provided by CBFC to the film industry through an executive order.


    The question is not about moral policing or certifying. It lies deeper in the question that do we need one man to tell the entire country what to watch and what not to? Although the CBFC Chief does not agree with many of his critics, the truth is for all to see. Udta Punjab can have innumerable cuts and bans but a film like Kya Kool Hai Hum or Hate Story 3 can be downgraded from A to U/A. Seem any sense?

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