Amol Palekar to Shyam Benegal's rescue

Amol Palekar

Yesterday the 1952 Cinematograph Act came under scrutiny yet again as the Supreme Court asked the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to respond to a plea filed by actor-filmmaker Amol Palekar, questioning censorship of movies by the CBFC. Referring to what he termed as "pre-censorship" of films in his writ petition two weeks ago, the veteran argued that decisions to make cuts and deny certifications were arbitrary in nature. The laws, he said, have not been questioned in 47 years and have failed to keep up with the digital era.

Shyam Benegal

Palekar also sought action on the report of a committee headed by Shyam Benegal, which suggested the Board concentrate on certification, not cuts. His wife, Sandhya Gokhle says the SC has given I&B Ministry four weeks to respond to the plea.

Talking about Palekar's plea, Benegal said, "It could turn to be a catalyst. Personally, I have always maintained censorship defies the understanding of democracy.

The CBFC is a certification body and any filmmaker objecting to censorship is justified." CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani said, "The Act empowers the Board to suggest cuts when the content does not stick to guidelines. But, changes could be mutually beneficial."

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