CBFC withdraws letter imposing pre-condition on movie

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Mumbai, Feb 28 (UNI) Additional Solicitor General Rajendra Raghuvanshi today informed the Bombay High Court that the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) has withdrawn a letter, imposing pre-condition to obtain Congress President Sonia Gandhi's 'No Objection' for granting censor certificate for a film 'Sonia-Sonia', based on life and times of the Congress President.

The undated letter, imposing unprecendented conditions, was slapped on Thakur Dinesh Kumar, producer of the film. It mentioned that Examination Committee of the Board had seen the movie and had recommended 'U' Certificate for the film but that it was subject to Sonia Gandhi's 'No Objection'.

Thereafter, Thakur wrote to CBFC chairperson Sharmila Tagore, saying he had written numerous letters to Ms Gandhi and various Congress leaders before proceeding for shooting of the film. He had neither received reply from Ms Sonia nor her party leaders and had requested the CBFC chairperson to treat it as Congress President's 'No Objection'.

Since he did not receive any reply from the CBFC chairperson, the producer finally approached the High Court, saying the Censor Board had no right to impose such a precondition for Certification.

A division bench, comprising Justices Bilal Nazkia and Sharad Bobde, had come down on the Censor Board and asked the CBFC to withdraw the letter when the producer's petition came up for hearing before them last week.

The producer contended that there was no provision of law, imposing precondition to obtain 'No Objection' from the person on whose life the movie is based. The movie, produced in two versions-- Hindi and English, was placed before the CBFC for certification on December 19, 2005.

He said, in the petition, affected parties could definitely agitate if any defamatory material or scene was found in the movie after its release, but since the movie was held back unnecessarily, it has caused financial loss to him.

UNI XR OBB SYU RAI2006

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