THE CENTRAL BOARD OF FILM CERTIFICATION (CBFC),in a signed Letter informed me that my application for them to view my film cannot be processed for examining and certification till the 1st phase of polls on 11-04-2019, as the movie attracts the provisions of model code of conduct for elections because parties and candidates will have to refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life and criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortion
I AM FILING A CASE ON THE CENSOR BOARD FOR ILLEGALLY STOPPING LAKSHMI’S NTR
A copy of some material about the statement of N.Lakshmi Parvathi against Telugu Desam Party was also annexed with the letter which has absolutely no relevance with the issue of the film.
To start with the processing and certification of a film by the CBFC is governed by the Cinematography Act, 1952 wherein section 4 provides that the CBFC, on receipt of an application for certification, shall after examining or having the film examined shall issue certificate for public exhibition of the film with any restrictions or refuse to sanction the film for public exhibition as per section 5A of the Act. The CBFC has no authority or power to postpone processing of the film on the ground of model code for conduct even before viewing the film.
This amounts to blatant pre-censor ship, which is in violation of fundamental right of Freedom of Expression under Article 19 of the Constitution of India.
The provisions of Section 5B of the Act lays down the principles for not certifying a film for public exhibition like the film or any part of it is against the interests [the sovereignty and integrity of India], the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or involves defamation or contempt of court or is likely to incite the commission of any offence or if the film is contrary to the guidelines issued by the central government.
The Central Government also issued guidelines wherein the CBFC shall ensure that film will not depict anti social activities, the modus operandi of criminals, showing involvement of children in violence showing abuse, human sensibilities are not offended by vulgarity, obscenity or depravity, such dual meaning words as obviously cater to baser instincts are not allowed, scenes degrading or denigrating women in any manner are not presented, scenes involving sexual violence against women like attempt to rape, rape, scenes showing sexual perversions shall be avoided and if such matters are germane to the theme they shall be reduced to the minimum and no details are shown, visuals or words contemptuous of racial, religious or other groups are not presented, visuals or words which promote communal, obscurantist, anti-scientific and anti-national attitude are not presented.
The film Lakshmi’s NTR’s contents do not fall in any of the above prohibited guidelines and admittedly the CBFC has not even processed or viewed the film to come to such conclusion.
It’s obvious that the CBFC for reasons best known to itself relied on the model code of conduct meant for political parties and candidates and the film has no nexus with any political party or candidate as none of the producers, directors or any other artists or candidates are contesting from any political party in the ensuing general elections.
The Central Board of Film Certification assumed the jurisdiction of Election Commission which is not vested in it and passed the order withholding application for the certification of Lakshmi’s NTR film, which suffers from patent lack of jurisdiction and it cannot partake the role of Election Commission.
The Election Commission of India itself has no jurisdiction to regulate the exhibition of films or movies and it can regulate the conduct of the contesting candidates in the elections and Political parties.
The Election Commission derives its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution which empowers to regulate the Election process, Political Parties and contesting candidates.
The Election Commission by its own conduct wherein the election commission has not interfered inspite of a complaint by a political party seeking prohibiting the exhibition of the film and there is no indication from the election commission that the film is in violation of model code of conduct of elections.
To push our point the extract from the Judgement of the Supreme Court in Manohar Lal Sharma v. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, (2018) 1 SCC 770 (popularly known as Padmavati case) is as follows:
“A story told on celluloid or a play enacted on a stage or a novel articulated in a broad and large canvas or epic spoken with eloquence or a poem sung with passion or recited with rhythm has many a layer of freedom of expression of thought that requires innovation, skill, craftsmanship and, above all, individual originality founded on the gift of imagination or reality transformed into imagination or vice versa. The platform can be different and that is why, the creative instinct is respected and has the inherent protective right from within which is called artistic licence”
Another Judgement of the Supreme Court in Devidas Ramachandra Tuljapurkar v. State of Maharashtra [Devidas Ramachandra Tuljapurkar v. State of Maharashtra, (2015) 6 SCC 1 : (2015) 2 SCC (Cri) 801] : SCC p. 17, para 6 is as follows:
“As far as the words “poetic licence”, are concerned, it can never remotely mean a licence as used or understood in the language of law. There is no authority who gives a licence to a poet. These are words from the realm of literature. The poet assumes his own freedom which is allowed to him by the fundamental concept of poetry. He is free to depart from reality; fly away from grammar; walk in glory by not following systematic metres; coin words at his own will; use archaic words to convey thoughts or attribute meanings; hide ideas beyond myths which can be absolutely unrealistic; totally pave a path where neither rhyme nor rhythm prevail; can put serious ideas in satires, ifferisms, notorious repartees; take aid of analogies, metaphors, similes in his own style, compare like “life with sandwiches that is consumed everyday” or “life is like peeling of an onion”, or “society is like a stew”; define ideas that can balloon into the sky never to come down; cause violence to logic at his own fancy; escape to the sphere of figurative truism; get engrossed in the “universal eye for resemblance”, and one can do nothing except writing a critical appreciation in his own manner and according to his understanding.
When a poet says “I saw eternity yesterday night”, no reader would understand the term “eternity” in its prosaic sense. The Hamletian question has many a layer; each is free to confer a meaning: be it traditional or modern or individualistic. No one can stop a dramatist or a poet or a writer to write freely expressing his thoughts, and similarly none can stop the critics to give their comments whatever its worth. One may concentrate on classical facets and one may think at a metaphysical level or concentrate on Romanticism as is understood in the poems of Keats, Byron or Shelley or one may dwell on Nature and write poems like William Wordsworth whose poems, say some, are didactic. One may also venture to compose like Alexander Pope or Dryden or get into individual modernism like Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot or Pablo Neruda. That is fundamentally what is meant by poetic licence.”
In view of all the above I am going to court against the censor board in the context of their abuse of a responsible position.