Hansal, Vishal criticise FCAT's abolishment
The 'Film Certification Appellate Tribunal' (FCAT) was dissolved by the Ministry of Law and Justice with immediate effect as per reports. The statutory body was constituted in 1983 to hear appeals of filmmakers aggrieved by 'Central Board of Film Certification' (CBFC) orders and had been instrumental in the release of many films.
After this order, the filmmakers distressed by the decision of the CBFC will have to approach the high court directly, instead of the FCAT for the redressal of their grievances. FCAT was introduced in 1983 as a statutory body constituted vide Section 5D of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 (37 of 1952) by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. It had its headquarters in New Delhi.
In the recent past, filmmakers like Alankrita Shrivastava had approached FCAT in 2017, after the CBFC had refused to certify 'Lipstick Under My Burkha'. After FCAT intervened, it ordered CBFC to grant an 'A' certificate after suggesting a few edits.
Anurag Kashyap also appealed to FCAT in 2016 when the CBFC did not give 'Udta Punjab' clearance for release. FCAT was yet again instrumental when it cleared the release of Kushan Nandy's 'Babumoshai Bandookbaaz', starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, after a few 'voluntary cuts' instead of 48 cuts that CBFC, then led by filmmaker Pahlaj Nihalani, had ordered in the film after giving it an 'A' certificate.
Soon after the abolition of FCAT, Hansal Mehta, Vishal Bharadwaj, Guneet Monga and others took to their social media platforms to criticise the move.
"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 restrictive. Why this unfortunate timing? Why take this decision at all?" asked Mehta.
Filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj called it a 'sad day for cinema'.
Producer Guneet Monga, whose directorial 'Haraamkhor' was cleared by the FCAT in 2016, questioned the decision as Vishal Bhardwaj's tweet.