Veteran actor-director Amol Palekar today moved the Supreme Court seeking guidelines for pre-censorship of films.
A bench, comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, issued notices to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and sought their replies to Palekar's plea.
Senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for Palekar, sought action on the report of a committee headed by legendary filmmaker Shyam Benegal which, among other things, had suggested that the censor board's role should be confined to certifying films.
In his plea before the top court, the 72-year-old actor has sought relaxation in the censorship of films by removal of pre-censorship of movies.
"The petitioner is challenging the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 and the Cinematograph(Certification) Rules, 1983 which in turn imposes pre-censorship on the freedom of speech and expression of the artistes as well as the audience...
"The petitioner is aggrieved by the provisions provisions granting the power of ordering cuts, deletions, alterations in a film along with the abuse of power while exercising the powers given by the said Act and Rules while certifying and/or denying certification to any applicant film," the plea said.
The veteran actor has challenged several provisions of the Cinematography Act and said the pre-censorship of films was irrelevant in the internet era.
"The rules have to change in the present days Internet and social media dominate...When content on television and internet is free of censorship, the same content being altered, cut or deleted before being shown in a cinema hall is an attack on our right to equality," the petition said.
Palekar also referred to the change in the social fabric since a 1970 apex court order by which it has been held that censorship in movies was valid and necessary because cinema is the most influential media of mass communication.
"Today modern technology makes dissemination of information available in real time through a variety of media, many of which are either not regulated or if regulated, not subjected to pre-censorship," he said.
"Absence of a member with a legal background in CBFC which often leads the board to repeatedly violate filmmakers' fundamental right to speech and expression", the petition said.
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