FCAT or The Film Certification Appellate Tribunal has been dissolved by the Ministry of Law with immediate effect. Most importantly, FCAT, was a statutory body constituted to hear appeals of filmmakers distressed by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) orders. The powers of the tribunal body have been shifted to the high courts.
The appellate body for the Cinematograph Act will now be the high court. Minister of State for Finance, Anurag Singh Thakur had introduced a bill, in February, in the Parliament, to abolish tribunals. Filmmakers will now have to approach the High Court directly.
According to filminformation.com, “The Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) is a statutory body constituted vide Section 5D of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 by the ministry of information & broadcasting. It is headquartered in New Delhi. The Tribunal is headed by a chairperson who is assisted by four members. A secretary is appointed by the government of India to look after the day-to-day affairs of the FCAT. The Tribunal hears the appeals filed under section 5C of the Cinematograph Act. Under that section, any applicant for a certificate in respect of a film, who is aggrieved by an order of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), can file an appeal before the FCAT directly.”
Firstly, Several actors and filmmakers took to Twitter to express disappointment.
Such a sad day for cinema
FILM CERTIFICATION APPELLATE TRIBUNAL ABOLISHED | 6 April, 2021
— Vishal Bhardwaj (@VishalBhardwaj) April 6, 2021
Secondly, Filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj called it a ‘sad day for cinema’ and Hansal Mehta questioned if the already burdened high courts had time to address film certification grievances.
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 definitely restrictive. Why this unfortunate timing? Why take this decision at all?
— Hansal Mehta (@mehtahansal) April 7, 2021
Guneet Monga replied to Vishal Bhardwaj’s tweet and wrote, “How does something like this happen? Who decides? (sic)”
How does something like this happen ?
Who decides ? https://t.co/04uXPQx1dW
— Guneet Monga (@guneetm) April 6, 2021
Jai Mehta questioned how the tribunal has been abolished overnight.
— Jai Mehta (@JaiHMehta) April 6, 2021
Earlier, India needs a CBFC certification before releasing a movie in the theatre. If the CBFC suggested changes that the filmmakers were not happy with, they could approach the FCAT.
FCAT has been instrumental in granting clearance for films like Lipstick Under My Burkha, Udta Punjab among others.
Anurag Kashyap and Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi are two eminent directors who have fought the regulatory bodies for years.