Regulators

CBFC took unilateral decision to put list of offensive words on hold: Rathore

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NEW DELHI: The Parliament was informed on 13 March that the list of 28 "objectionable and abusive" words suggested for banning from Indian films by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairman Pahlaj Nahalani was held back. This, because a need was felt to consult on the same with people from different sections of society.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore told the Lok Sabha today that the decision in this regard had been taken by the Board in a meeting on 23 February.

The Minister also said that the list of objectionable words circulated by Nihalani on 12 February this year had been compiled by regional offices of the CBFC in 2003.

Meanwhile, a Ministry official told Indiantelevision.com last month that any decision in this regard may have been taken at the level of the Board or by its chairman, who had issued the list leading to protests from some members.

Rathore had earlier said, “CBFC under the Ministry certifies films for public screening in accordance with the Cinematograph Act, 1952 and Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983. Section 5B of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 provides principles for guidance in certifying films. Guidelines for certification of films notified under the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules lay down among other things that CBFC shall be guided by the following principles in this regard: (i) human sensibilities are not offended by vulgarity, obscenity or depravity; and (ii) such dual meaning words as obviously cater to baser instincts are not allowed.”

In a circular to the producers’ association and regional officers, the Board had last month listed several "objectionable words" that are being used in films and directed its regional officers to ensure a ban on the list of cuss words. It also aimed to seek more conformity from directors and scriptwriters on cultural matters and political correctness. It also said Mumbai should be used in place of Bombay.

The list led to a Twitter war of words, where some members said Nihalani had taken the decision unilaterally.

However, Nihalani told Indiantelevision.com that he was within his rights to issue the list as he was only using the powers given to him under the Cinematograph Act and was only referring to words that the Certification Guidelines do not allow.

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