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 by the Ministry of Law and Justice with immediate effect.
The filmmakers distressed by the decision of the CBFC will now have to directly approach the high court to address their grievances.
Introduced in 1983, FCAT provided various remedies including appeal against the certification order of the CBFC, its refusal to certify a movie or the modifications suggested by the board. The statutory body had been instrumental in the release of a number of films.
In the recent past, Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha which CBFC refused to certify, it was granted an ‘A’ certificate by FCAT after a few edits. Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap also approached FCAT in 2016 when the CBFC wouldn’t give Udta Punjab clearance for release. Also, the release of Kushan Nandy’s Babumoshai featuring Nawazuddin Siddiqui was cleared after eight minor cuts against the CBFC order of 48 cuts in the film.
Disappointed with the FCAT abolition, several film personalities including Hansal Mehta, Guneet Monga, Vishal Bharadwaj, Richa Chadha, among others took to Twitter to criticise the move.
Calling it a sad day for cinema, filmmaker Vishal Bharadwaj wrote, Such a sad day for cinema, FILM CERTIFICATION APPELLATE TRIBUNAL ABOLISHED | 6 April, 2021. He also shared the article from the publication, film information.
Director Hansal Mehta termed the FCAT abolition ‘arbitrary and restrictive’. He wrote, 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?
Producer Guneet Monga questioned the decision as she retweeted Vishal Bhardwaj’s tweet. While actor Richa Chadha expressed her disappointment through a meme.