Mumbai: It has come to notice that a prominent international producer-distributor which also happens to be an entity listed on the share market has violated the law regarding Censors very blatantly. While it is not breaking news that some producers are up in arms against the Censor Board, this is how some persons are actually violating the law. According to the law governing the export of films, it is laid down clearly that no film can be exported from India without a Censor Certificate, but here is an example of how far some vested interests will go in order to transgress the law for financial gains. Whereas producers of films containing so-called objectionable material are often at loggerheads with the Censor Board in seeking to amend the CBFC’s objections, according to the law of the land, the Censor’s writ is final. And as the law provides, anyone who violates or causes to violate with malafide intent, the CBFC’s writ by exhibiting uncensored footage is liable to face criminal prosecution. There have been instances where video parlours showing uncensored material were raided and the perpetrators of such crimes were imprisoned.
In this instance, the prominent producer has grossly violated the letter and spirit of the law concerning censors while exporting a film from India. The modus operandii involved exporting the uncensored film overseas, by falsely certifying that the film that was being exported was a censored copy. In order to foolproof the fraud that was perpetrated, the producer had made a false declaration and had attached the Censor Certificate along with the export documentation to validate the export documentation. In reality, the film that was exported was uncensored and this instance constitutes a gross violation of the law. Since there is proof that they have indeed contravened the law, such an infraction might even be construed as a criminal breach.
A source close to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Ministry has indicated that the fraud came to light following the film’s censorship in Pakistan. Concerned officials in India were taken by surprise when it has been discovered that two Censor Boards in Islamabad and Lahore had ordered the same cuts to the film that the Indian Censor Board had ordered, therefore implying that the film that was exported was without the cuts ordered by the CBFC. To make matters worse, the film was exported under the cover of the Censor Certificate and may therefore be regarded as a fraudulent and a criminal act.
On closer inspection of the censor certificate by the agencies in Pakistan, it has been found that the Pakistani censors had in fact imposed far severe cuts to the film, thereby also suggesting that the Indian censorship has been more liberal. Sources indicate that this case is currently under investigation and there is a concern that the government might consider taking legal recourse in order to prevent such blatant violations of the law, also considering the need to prevent the proliferation of sex-related material that is being exported from India in contravention of the laws of censorship.
It is not yet known beyond doubt as to who inside the company was responsible for the violations.