The Delhi High Court has allowed the release of Punjabi film "Kaum De Heere", based on the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi, which was slated to be released in August 2014. It set aside the Central Board of Film Certification's earlier order withdrawing movie's certification for public screening.
Referring to a Supreme Court verdict, Justice Vibhu Bakhru said once an expert body has considered the impact of a film on the public and has cleared the film, it is no excuse to say that there may be a law and order situation.
"The reliance placed by the respondents upon Section 6(1) of the Cinematograph Act, is wholly misplaced. First of all, the said provision to the extent that it enables the Central Government to exercise revisional powers in respect of the decisions rendered by CBFC, has been held to be unconstitutional.
Second, even if Section 6(1) of the Act was operative, the respondents had not followed the procedure as contemplated therein. The petitioner was not granted any opportunity to represent its views before the direction was issued," the high court said.
The movie was initially granted ''A'' certification but later the movie was barred from release in India by the government.
Producers of the film had challenged CBFC and Film Certification Appellate Tribunal's orders, by which the film's certification was withdrawn. They had contended the censor board "had no factual or legal basis for withdrawal of certificate" after granting it.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and CBFC had said the withdrawal of certification was done according to the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 and on the orders of the central government.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioner, had challenged the orders saying that the Chairperson of CBFC had no power to review and cancel the certificate that was issued by CBFC.
He contended that the said certification was issued by CBFC after the Revising Committee had viewed the feature film on two occasions.
The senior lawyer submitted that the feature film did not violate any guidelines and withdrawal of certification was violative of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.
The CBFC, however, submitted that the central government had the power under Section 6(2) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 to direct that a film, which has been granted certification, be deemed to be an uncertified film in any part or the whole of India.