Film Certification Appellate Tribunal abolished; filmmakers to now directly approach High Court
Filmmakers Vishal Bhardwaj, Hansal Mehta, and Guneet Monga, along with actress Richa Chadha, were the first to criticise the abolition of FCAT.
The Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), the statutory body constituted to hear appeals of filmmakers aggrieved by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) orders, has now been dissolved. The Ministry of Law and Justice issued a notice stating the change has been implemented with immediate effect, reports Live Law.
What this indicates is that, from now on, producers have to directly approach the high court to address their grievances.
FCAT was established in 1983 under the Cinematograph Act, 1952. Among the various remedies available on appeal to FCAT included appeal against — the certification order of the CBFC, its refusal to certify a movie or the modifications suggested by the board.
A landmark instance in this case was in 2017, after CBFC refused to certify Alankrita Shrivastava's Lipstick Under My Burkha, FCAT ordered the body to grant an “A” certificate after suggesting a few edits. Similarly, FCAT cleared the release of Kushan Nandy's Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, after "eight minor, voluntary cuts." CBFC, then led by filmmaker Pahlaj Nihalani, had ordered 48 cuts in the film after giving it an 'A' certificate, objecting to cuss words and certain scenes.
Several film personalities expressed their disappointment with the FCAT abolition, including Hansal Mehta, Vishal Bharadwaj, Guneet Monga, and Richa Chadha. Mehta took to Twitter to write the abolishing of the tribunal is "arbitrary and restrictive."
Check out their tweets here
Such a sad day for cinema
FILM CERTIFICATION APPELLATE TRIBUNAL ABOLISHED | 6 April, 2021
— Vishal Bhardwaj (@VishalBhardwaj) April 6, 2021
Do the high courts have a lot of time to address film certification grievances? How many film producers will have the means to approach the courts? The FCAT discontinuation feels arbitrary and is definitely restrictive. Why this unfortunate timing? Why take this decision at all? — Hansal Mehta (@mehtahansal) April 7, 2021
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