Telangana High Court directs CBFC to reconstitute Revising Committee and decide certification of film ‘Vyuham’ on or before 09-02-2024

telangana high court

Telangana High Court: In the present case, two writ appeals were filed against the order passed by the Single Judge of this High Court (‘Single Judge’) which allowed the writ petition filed by Respondent 1, Telugu Desam Party (‘TDP’) to quash certificate issued by the Central Board of Film Certification (‘CBFC’) for the feature film ‘Vyuham’ (‘the Film’). The Division Bench of Alok Aradhe CJ.*, and Anil Kumar Jukanti, J. modified the impugned order and directed that the Revising Committee of CBFC should be reconstituted, and it should duly communicate its decision for certification of the Film on or before 09-02-2024.


Appellant 1 in Writ Appeal No. 56 of 2024 was the producer and appellant in Writ Appeal No. 59 of 2024 was the director of the Film. The producer of the Film applied for censor certification of the Film before CBFC but did not get a certificate as CBFC found the Film not suitable for public exhibition. The Film was further referred for evaluation by the Revising Committee of CBFC (‘the Revising Committee’) but was postponed till the conclusion of elections as the model code of conduct was in force in the State.

The Film was scheduled to be released on 10-11-2023 and on 23-11-2023, the producer filed a writ petition, in which inaction on the part of CBFC in not certifying the Film for public exhibition was assailed. The Single Judge of this High Court, while disposing of the writ petition directed CBFC to consider the application within 10 days. Thereafter, Nara Lokesh, General Secretary, Telugu Desam Party, issued a notice calling upon CBFC not to issue a censor certificate for public exhibition of the Film. A ‘U’ certificate was granted to the Film with the direction to display a disclaimer at the beginning of the Film that the Film was based on true events with cinematographic liberties. Thereupon, the revised date of release of the Film was announced on 29-12-2023.

Thereupon, TDP filed a writ petition, from which the impugned order arose, to quash the certificate issued by CBFC in favor of the producer on the ground that the same was illegal and was in violation provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 (‘the Act’). The certificate granted by CBFC was suspended vide an interim order for three weeks. Further, Single Judge held that TDP had locus to file writ petition as it was aggrieved as per Explanation 2 to Section 499 of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) and Section 3(42) of the General Clauses Act, 1897. The certificate granted in favor of the producer was quashed and CBFC was directed to reconsider the matter.

Appellants submitted that a political party which was recognized under Section 29-A of the Representation of People Act, 1951 could not maintain a writ petition for alleged defamation as it was not a ‘person’. It was further submitted that the authority of Nara Lokesh to file writ petition on behalf of TDP was also not clear. It was contended that once CBFC certified the release of the Film then it could not be restrained from exhibition and a prior restraint on the Film was not permissible. It was further contended that defamation could not be claimed, and the producer had protection guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution.

Respondent submitted that TDP had invoked the extraordinary discretionary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution as its right to reputation under Article 21 of the Constitution was violated. It was contended that TDP was an association or body of persons and was a juristic entity and was therefore entitled to maintain the writ petition. It was submitted that the decision-making process of the Revising Committee of CBFC was amenable to judicial review and that the procedural defect, if any, in filing writ petition, was curable in nature.

Analysis, Law, and Decision

The Court opined that the freedom of creation by artistic means was a fundamental fight and was covered under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. The Court observed that he Act was enacted to make provision for the certification of cinematograph films for exhibition and for regulating exhibitions through cinematographs.

The Court relied on Jasbhai Motibhai Desai v. Roshan Kumar, (1976) 1 SCC 671, and opined that a person whose rights were affected or infringed was a person aggrieved and had a locus to maintain the petition. The Court further opined that the expression ‘aggrieved person’ was an elastic and elusive concept and its scope and meaning depended on the content and intent of the statute of which contravention was alleged. Thus, the rights under Article 226 of the Constitution could be enforced only by an aggrieved person except in the case of habeas corpus or quo warranto. The Court held that TDP was claiming violation of the statutory right under Section 5-B of the Act and Rule 24 of the Certification Rules and thus could not be said to be a stranger having no right. Therefore, TDP was considered as an aggrieved person.

The Court further relied on Akhil Bharatiya Soshit Karamchari Sangh (Railway) v. Union of India, (1981) 1 SCC 246, and opined that TDP was a political party, a body of persons and its members had a particular ideology. TDP had approached the Court seeking relief for violation of the statutory right under the Act and the Certification Rules. The Court further opined that in the instant case, a writ petition was filed by Nara Lokesh on behalf of TDP. The Court held that TDP was an aggrieved person and Nara Lokesh had the authority to maintain a writ petition on its behalf.

The Court opined that it could not act as a court of appeal over the decision taken by the Revising Committee under the Act and Certification Rules. The Court relied on Aureliano Fernandes v. State of Goa, (2024) 1 SCC 632 and opined that the application of natural justice was presumptive unless found excluded by express words of the statute or necessary intendment. The Court noted that in case of a conflict between the provisions of the Act, Rules and Schedule, the provisions of the Act and the Rules prevail. Further, the Court regarding Rule 24(9) of the Certification Rules, opined that merely because in two columns the word ‘U’ was absent, it could not be inferred that no reasons were required to be given in case of ‘U’ certified film. The Court held that the Revising Committee was required to assign reasons while granting the certificate to the Film with excisions and since no reasons had been assigned by the Revising Committee, it acted in contravention of Rule 24(9) of the Certification Rules.

The Court agreed with the Single Judge’s decision, however, modified the impugned order and directed that the Revising Committee should be reconstituted, and it should duly communicate its decision for certification of the Film on or before 09-02-2024. The Court further opined that freedom of expression was a fundamental right in a democratic society which was governed by a rule of law. The producer had fundamental Rights under Article 19 of the Constitution which permitted him to allude to true incidents with his perspective.

[Ramadhuta Creations v. Telugu Desam Party, 2024 SCC OnLine TS 13, decided on: 05-02-2024]

*Judgment Authored by: Chief Justice Alok Aradhe

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Appellants: A. Venkatesh, Senior Counsel; Pasham Mohith, Advocate

For the Respondents: Gadi Praveen Kumar, Deputy Solicitor General; Unnam Muralidhar, Senior Counsel; Rajagopallavan Tayi, Advocate

Buy Constitution of India  HERE

Constitution of India

Buy Penal Code, 1860   HERE

penal code, 1860

Must Watch

maintenance to second wife

bail in false pretext of marriage

right to procreate of convict

Criminology, Penology and Victimology book release

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.