Delhi HC gives ‘U’ certificate for Kashmir documentary

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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today paved the way for the screening of a documentary on the victims of violence in the Kashmir Valley without any cut, saying the film does not contain any objectionable material and deserved issuance of a ‘U’ certificate for public viewing.

However, a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath noted that so far as insertion of a disclaimer was concerned, Pankaj Butalia, producer-director of documentary “Textures of Loss”, has already agreed to do it.

The bench concurred with the conclusion of a single judge bench which had directed the Censor Board to issue a certificate for public screening without any cut.

“It may be true that the issue of violence in Kashmir is a sensitive topic. However, we do not find any objectionable material in the film in question,” the bench said.

“We, therefore, entirely agree with the conclusion of the single judge that the film in question shall be issued ‘U’ certificate without deletions/excisions ordered by appellate tribunal and the order under appeal to the said extent warrants no interference.

“So far as the insertion of the disclaimer is concerned, as already mentioned above, the respondent No.1 (Butalia)/writ petitioner has agreed to insert the same,” the bench said.

The order came on a petition filed by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting against May 2015 order of single judge which had set aside the decisions of CBFC and film certification appellate tribunal while holding that a ‘U’ certificate be issued to the film without any deletions.

Upholding the single judge order, the bench observed that the documentary was of approximately 61 minutes and stated to be based on case studies of the people who were affected by the long-drawn violence in the Kashmir Valley.

“The writ petitioner has made an attempt to portray the life of the people in the valley of Kashmir, who were affected by long term violence, by interviewing the family members of some of the victims of violence,” the bench noted.

“The persons who were interviewed had merely narrated their experiences and the loss suffered by them on account of the conflict between the militants and security forces/police.

The statements of the persons in the interview were their personal views and the same can neither have any demoralising effect on the security forces nor can they be termed as anti-national,” it said.

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