Dissolving FCAT goes against principles, spirit of constitutional democracy, says Shyam Benegal

Prominent figures from the Hindi film industry such as Hansal Mehta, Vishal Bhardwaj and Richa Chadha have also slammed the decision. 

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Keyur Seta

Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal has criticized the Central government’s decision to dissolve the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT).

“The ordinance goes against the very principles and spirit of a constitutional democracy,” he told Cinestaan.

The statutory body was dissolved on Sunday via an ordinance by the Union ministry of law and justice. 

Filmmakers who were aggrieved by decisions of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) could appeal to the FCAT for a revision. But in the absence of the body, filmmakers will have to directly move the high court to challenge contentious censor board decisions. 

The FCAT was constituted by the ministry of information and broadcasting under section 5D of the Cinematograph Act 1952. It was headed by a chairperson and comprised a four-member committee. 

A few people from the Hindi film industry have openly slammed the decision. Filmmaker Hansal Mehta tweeted on Wednesday, “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?” 

Filmmaker, composer and playback singer Vishal Bhardwaj tweeted, "Such a sad day for cinema.” This was retweeted by actress Richa Chadha.