After days of protracted war, the Bombay High Court has allowed Anurag Kashyap's Udta Punjab to be released with an 'A' certificate.
In a huge embarrassment for the CBFC, the Court has allowed only one of the 13 cuts as suggested by the Board. Initially, the CBFC had asked for 89 cuts.
The Bombay High Court has clipped the Central Board of Film Certificationâ€™s wings of censorship, while hearing the plea by the makers of Udta Punjab.
Hearing the plea, the Court said that the Boardâ€™s powers to cut, delete or change scenes must at all times be in consonance with Constitutional provisions and Supreme Court orders.
The Court also observed that the film does not encourage drug addiction in any way.
It said that creative freedom need not be curbed unnecessarily and that no one should dictate to the filmmaker what he wants to put in the film. Over time, the Indian audiences have matured and the CBFC need not treat them as fragile by being overprotective, the court said.
On the CBFCâ€™s suggestion for deletion of references to Punjab, the court said that it did not see anything in the film that portrayed Punjab in negative light or could affect the sovereignty or integrity of India as claimed by the CBFC. Since the word is already there in the title, there no need to cut the scene showing a signboard with â€˜Punjabâ€™ on it.
It added that the CBFC is not empowered by law to censor films as the word censor is not included in the Cinematograph Act. It maintained that the Board should stick to certifying instead.
CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani had said earlier on Monday that the Board had cleared the film with 13 cuts and an â€˜Aâ€™ rating. "The CBFCs job is now over. It is now up to the producer to go to the court or tribunal. We will implement the order," he said.
The row began when the CBFC raised objections not only against the cuss words in the film but also all references to the state of Punjab â€“ this included words like â€˜Chandigarhâ€™, â€˜Amritsarâ€™, â€˜MPâ€™, â€˜MLAâ€™ etc. They had also insisted that the word â€˜Punjabâ€™ be removed from the title of the film. The argument against the film was also that it glorified drug abuse.