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Govt Defends Censor Decision On Aarakshan

PTI 12 Aug 2011, 19:47:44 IST

New Delhi, Aug 12: Defending the censor board's decision to allow the film “Aakarshan” release, the Centre today ruled out any scope for intervention in the matter. “I am fully with the decision of the Censor Board... My Ministry has no role or can intervene in it,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

The Prakash Jha-directed film has created a controversy with three states banning its screening and Jha moving the Supreme Court against the ban.

To a question why the I & B Ministry is not intervening, Soni said “in the Cinematograph Act, there was some scope for intervention earlier. But in 2000, that right was taken away by the Supreme Court. As of today, the Ministry has no right to intervene.”

She said the Central Board of Film Certification is an autonomous body and it had been reconstituted very recently. Though it does not have full membership, it has started working with 15/16 members.

The I&B Minister said “generally four people of the board view a film before its release. But this time, Chairperson Leela Samson constituted a nine-member panel for the film comprising representatives from Dalit, OBC, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe. There is also a Dalit activist Rajni Tilak and retired justice Mukul Mudgal.” She said because the name (Aarakshan) suggests that there could be some element of controversy that is why Leela Samson took a decision to expand the board to nine members which include important people reflecting all sections of the society.

“After seeing the film, they (censor board) have given the U/A certificate without any cut. There was one word which producer himself agreed to cut”, Soni said. Asked about her view on the film, she said she has not seen it.

About the Ministry's stand on states banning the film, she said “it is the states' responsibility and states should know why they are banning the film. The producers and directors of the film have organised the films' screening at many places and shown to many people who have some doubts. The law and order is the state's responsibility.

Pointing out that the producers have gone to the Supreme Court, she said “so, you have to wait.” PTI