The Central Board of Film Certification had been facing continued ire of the High Court of Kerala, following the Board’s refusal to comply with the directions of the court to review the controversial movie ‘ Ka Bodyscapes ’ and to grant it certificate for public exhibition.
Now, communication dated 19.08.2017 has been issued by the Regional Officer of the Board to director of the movie Mr. Jayan Cherian stating that the movie can be granted sanction for public exhibition only with deletions of certain scenes.
The board recommended deletion of visuals showing photos of Sri. Golwolkar, Sri. Hedgewar and saffron flag, wherever it occurs. The board also felt that the characters of Sita and Lord Hanuman were shown in a disrespectful and objectionable manner, and recommended deletions of such scenes.
Initially, the single bench held that CBFC cannot altogether deny certification to a movie without making an attempt to render it viewable by suggesting modifications or deletions. The single bench also made it clear that mere reference to homosexuality or sexual acts would not make a movie obscene, and directed the board to take action in the light of the said observation. The board carried the matter in appeal before the division bench. The division bench approved the judgment of the single bench.
The division bench noted that the true purpose of the CBFC was to make a movie viewable and not to condemn it without a fair process. Further, the division bench directed the board itself to review the film, instead of the revising committee, in order to avoid further delay in the release of the movie.
However, the said order of division bench was not complied with. Instead of the board, the revising committee reviewed the film, refusing certificate. This led to contempt action being initiated. The bench comprising Chief Justice Navaniti Prasad Singh and Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan took strong exception to the casual manner in which the CBFC responded to the directions of the court. After being at the receiving end of the strong strictures from the court, the board reviewed the movie and refused certificate stating that there was no unanimity in the decision. This further invoked the displeasure of the court, and it held that there was no need to have unanimity in decision.
Thereafter, Pahlaj Nihalani was removed from the post of CBFC chairman and was replaced by Prasoon Joshi. With the present order, the directions of the court to the board to review the movie and pass orders have been complied with. It remains to be seen whether the director will approach the court against the present decision of the board, or will he agree to the suggestions and exhibit the movie with the recommended deletions.