The Ministry of Law and Justice issued a notice today stating that 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 been dissolved. The change has been implemented with immediate effect.
From now on, the producers and filmmakers will have to directly approach the high court to address their grievances which might prove to be a cumbersome and expensive exercise. FCAT was established in 1983 under the Cinematograph Act, 1952. Through FCAT, the filmmakers could appeal against the certification order of the CBFC, its refusal to certify a film, the modifications suggested by the board and other grievances.
Such a sad day for cinema
FILM CERTIFICATION APPELLATE TRIBUNAL ABOLISHED | 6 April, 2021
— Vishal Bhardwaj (@VishalBhardwaj) April 6, 2021
The abolishment of the body has been received by extreme disappointment by several film celebs, including Hansal Mehta, Vishal Bhardwaj, Richa Chadha, Guneet Monga and others. They took to Twitter to denounce the abolishing of the tribunal as arbitrary, unnecessary and restrictive.
How does something like this happen ?
Who decides ? https://t.co/04uXPQx1dW
— Guneet Monga (@guneetm) April 6, 2021
— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) 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
The FCAT had overruled CBFC’s orders in several instances. More recent being Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha, where it gave it an ‘A’ certificate after suggesting a few edits, superseding CBFC that had refused to certify the film. It had also released Kushan Nandy’s Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui after ‘eight minor, voluntary cuts’ whereas CBFC had ordered 48 cuts in the film after giving it an ‘A’ certification.
(Source: Live Law/Twitter)