Bombay High Court questions CBFC: Why new rules have been introduced to certify subtitles separately

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday issued a notice to the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) asking it to clarify why it had introduced “new rules,” mandating film producers to seek re-certification of their films, after completing their subtitling.  A division bench of Justices RM Borde and VM Deshpande issued notice to the CBFC directing it to file an affidavit in response to a petition filed by the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPPA).

According to the plea filed by the IMPPA through advocate Ashok Saraogi, the CBFC introduced new set of rules in April this year, which are “arbitrary.” The petition states, “We received a notice from the CBFC on April 27, directing us (producers) to obtain a separate censorship certificate for the film’s subtitles. As per the notice, the producers have to first obtain a certificate for the movie and thereafter when subtitling is done by any producer in a different language, they are also required to obtain fresh censorship from the CBFC.”

The petition claims that there was never such a practice wherein subtitles of any film, were required to be certified separately. “Earlier certification was required only for the movie from the CBFC and there was no requirement or practice of certification for the subtitles,” the plea reads.  The petition further alleges that rules have been introduced only to “harass” and “extort money” from producers. The association has also said that if these rules are implemented then their films are likely to be “delayed” by months altogether.

Urging the bench to quash the new rules, the association has highlighted the fact that numerous programmes are freely made available on the internet and also on the television. “These programmes do not require any certification or censorship from any of the authorities,” the petition notes.  The CBFC, on the other hand, justified its rules claiming that this would ensure that producers do not add or alter the subtitles after receiving a certificate from the board.

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