Amol Palekar, the veteran actor, has filed petition before the Supreme Court of India challenging the laws related to censorship of movies. The Court has issued notices to Central Board of Film Certification and Centre. Palekar has prayed for the removal of the pre-censorship of movies. He has stated that the censorship laws are not required in this internet era. The CBFC consists of non-legal members who tend to violate the freedom of speech and expression of the actors by censoring the films. He has challenged many provisions of Cinematography Act, 1952 saying that if there is no censorship in the content of television and internet, then why the same is still there in cinema halls. It violates the right to equality. The basis of his argument is that the society has changed a lot from 1970 when the Supreme Court held censorship as valid and constitutional. Now there is a lot of progress in the social media and ways through which the same is communicated to the common public. Why there is a difference between social media and films?
The petition is filed on behalf of the society. But one should remember that we, Indians, are still addicted to the films. We are no doubt involved in the social media as well but cinema still remains the most common medium of entertainment. It is not possible to suddenly change the whole statute. There is no guarantee that involvement of a legal member will not violate the fundamental rights as that member will also be appointed by the Central Government only. There are other alternatives for the same. The public opinion needs to be taken first about the same. The degree of influence over people by both the social media and cinemas have to be kept in mind. There should a survey taken on the same basis by preparing questionnaire. Someone has to take the first step. Palekar has done the same which is appreciated. But the intricacies has to be understood first i.e. the socio-economic impact of the removal of censorship. The fundamental rights enshrined in our Constitution are subjected to reasonable restrictions. Society might have changed but the change is not so much that censorship has to be removed from the root.