ISLAMABAD: The Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) has conceded before the Supreme Court that the ban on feature film ‘Maalik’ was imposed without inquiring into the allegations levelled by complainants against the film. Chairman CBFC Mubashir Hassan conceded this before a two judge bench of the top court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, which on Friday took up the federal government’s plea against September 9 Sindh High Court’s quashing of government’s notification of decertifying censor certificate under Section 9 of the Motion Pictures Ordinance 1979. He further told the court that the board had banned the film on several complaints by the general public against the objectionable script maligning politicians and judiciary. Public complaints started pouring to CBFC from the across the country expressing their extreme reaction against the film through phone calls, letters as well as personal visits to CBFC, he said. Responding to which, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, another member of the bench, observed that volume of complaints of the public were meaningless unless these complaints are substantial. He observed that the representatives of Inter Services Public Relations, Censor Board and all the stake holders approved the screening of film. He further observed that if any material was brought before the court that violated Islam or Pakistan’s integrity, it would be examined. The chairman responded that the filmmakers were trying to give the impression that the state-run institutions are good for nothing and public should take the law in its own hands. He said that keeping in view the sentiments of public, the members of the board recommended banning the film. Justice Umar Ata Bandial inquired under which law the ban was imposed. He added that there was nothing wrong with institutions being criticised. Justice Qazi observed that under section 9 of Motion Pictures Ordinance 1979 there was nothing objectionable in the film. “You did not hold the inquiry so you prima facie violated the sub-section 1 of section 9,” observed Justice Qazi. The chairman of the board responded that the notices have been served to members of the board to state the reason of banning. “You issued notices to the members, but did you issue a notice to yourself? You approved the screening of the film and the other day you banned it as your mood changed on a single phone call. Isn’t this effectively corruption? What do you people want? Do you want to devastate the Pakistani film industry?” Justice Qazi said to the hapless Mubashir Hassan. Justice Qazi expressed displeasure and observed that there was nothing in the situation report. “What are you doing being a chairman of responsible institution? You are repeating like a parrot that the ban was imposed in regard with complaints. Is this the job you are doing?” Justice Qazi further snubbed the poor chairman over his inability to argue the matter. Farogh Naseem, counsel for film’s director Ashir Azeem, argued that his client was being harassed by customs officials and he was being pressurised to shut down the film. He pleaded before the court to watch the scenes of the film in open court, but the court declined the plea. Following the arguments, the top court directed the federal government to submit a report on objectionable contents in the film along with the objectionable part of the script in order to establish the de-certification of the film ‘Maalik’. The court also directed the federal government to ensure that no one would pressurise the producer of the film Ashir Azeem. The hearing of the case was adjourned for 15-days.