Observing that refusal to grant certificate was an infringement of the constitutional right of the film maker, a bench yesterday quashed the order of the Censor Board refusing the exhibition certificate to the film and also set aside the appellate tribunal's verdict affirming the decision.
"We have come to conclusion that the reasons which weighed with the CBFC and the tribunal constitute a clear infringement of the fundamental right of the producer under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution," Chief Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud noted.
"We hold that the reasons were unsustainable and that certification for the film could not lawfully have been refused, the judges, who viewed the film at a special screening organised by the film maker, said in their order. "The decision of CBFC was one which no reasonable body of persons could have arrived at. We are conscious of the position in law that the court exercising writ jurisdiction would ordinarily not substitute its view for the view of an expert. Where the decision of CBFC entrenches upon fundamental right to speech and expression, it is not merely the function of the court but its duty to intervene", the judges noted.
"Free speech and expression is a value which is fundamental to the functioning of a democratic society. The orders passed by CBFC and by appellate tribunal are unsustainable and must be quashed," the bench noted.