Film Certification Appellate Tribunal dissolved; filmmakers unhappy
Filmmaker Vishal Bharadwaj called it 'a sad day for cinema'
The Ministry of Law and Justice has announced the dissolution of the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), a statutory body that hears appeals of filmmakers about their disagreements with Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) decisions. The ministry has notified Tribunals Reforms (Rationalization and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021 to dissolve the body with immediate effect.
The FCAT, a statutory body, was constituted via the Cinematograph Act, 1952 (37 of 1952) by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India. The Tribunal had its headquarters in New Delhi and was headed by a Chairperson and assisted by four members. Now, with FCAT dissolved, filmmakers will have to take any disagreements with CBFC decisions to court. This move has come as a shock to many filmmakers, who have come down heavily on the decision.
Director Hansal Mehta, known for Scam 1992 and Aligarh, criticised the move on Twitter: "Do the high courts have a lot of time to address film certification grievances? How many film producers will have the means to approach courts? The FCAT discontinuation feels arbitrary and is definitely restrictive. Why this unfortunate timing? Why take this decision at all?"
Filmmaker Vishal Bharadwaj (Kaminey, Haider) bemoaned the decision and called it "a sad day for cinema."
It is to be noted that over the years, many films like Lipstick Under My Burkha, Udta Punjab, and Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, which were denied certification by CBFC, saw the light of day after the intervention of FCAT.