FCAT or the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal is a legal body established to hear appeals of filmmakers who are bothered or unsatisfied by Central Board of Film Certification’s (CBFC) orders. This body was a key legal authority for several beavered film-makers as it used to hear their appeals, seeking certification for their films. Now in a shocking turn of events, the Ministry of Law has decided to dissolve the body with immediate effect.

The Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation And Conditions Of Service) Ordinance, 2021 came into effect on April 4 with amends that revoked the Cinematograph Act, 1952. Some sections have been omitted with the word “Tribunal” with “High Court” replaced in other sections. This decision was not taken well by several Bollywood celebrities, who took to social media to express their disappointment over the Ministry’s decision.

Hansal Mehta, who is still basking in the glory of Scam 1992‘s success, wrote, “Do the high courts have a lot of time to address film certification grievances? How many film producers will have the means to approach the courts? The FCAT discontinuation feels arbitrary and is definitely restrictive. Why this unfortunate timing? Why take this decision at all?” Vishal Bhardwaj reacted to the news, calling it a sad day for the industry.

Check Out Mehta’s Tweet Here:

Speaking about the sudden abolition of FCAT, Anurag told The Quint, “Every law passed or abolished in the last couple of years has been overnight or early morning. So no, there is no shock. We are just waiting for which one it is this time. First, this means that producers will become scared to get caught in the loop of the High Court, with no certainty about when their films will release. It will also discourage filmmakers to make movies on stronger themes. On the other hand, I have a better experience when it came to approaching courts, as we saw in the cases of ‘Black Friday’, ‘Udta Punjab‘ etc. So let’s see how this plays out.”

The abolition implies that producers will now have to approach the high court instead of FCAT if they are discontented by the Central Board of Film Certification’s (CBFC) decision. This body has proved useful for many filmmakers in the past. Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha, Kashyap’s Udta Punjab, Kushan Nandy’s Babumoshai Bandookbaaz were only able to release in theatres after FCAT helped them get a certificate from CBFC.