I&B Ministry sets up committee to revisit Cinematograph Act

Amid controversy over sensitive scenes in Kamal Haasan’s film “Vishwaroopam,” which is expected to release in Tamil Nadu on February 7 after some cuts by the filmmaker, the Centre has set up a committee to revisit the Cinematograph Act and recommend measures to enable the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to deal with “contemporary requirements of certification.”

The eight-member panel, to be headed by former chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Mukul Mudgal, with film personalities Sharmila Tagore and Javed Akhtar as members among others, will also examine the role of the Centre and the states in sanctioning cinematograph films for exhibition.

The panel was set up by the I&B Ministry on Monday. Film Certification Appellate Tribunal chairperson Lalit Bhasin, CBFC chairperson Leela Samson and South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce Secretary L Suresh are other members of the committee which has been asked to submit its report in two months.  

Last week, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said there was a need to revisit the Cinematograph Act to ensure that decisions of the Censor Board “are implemented.”

“Time Cinematographic Act revisited to ensure implementational integrity (of) certification decisions, otherwise each state would be its own censor (board),” Tewari tweeted on January 31.

The committee will examine issues of certification under the Cinematograph Act, 1952, and review the mandate and functioning of CBFC. “It will recommend measures, including statutory changes to enable CBFC to deal with contemporary requirements of certification and increased transparency and efficiency,” a ministry official said.   

The panel will look into the process of certification under the Act and Rules, including the mechanism followed by examining and revising committees,  categories of certification, existing and proposed, under the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2013, and requirement of special categories of certification for the purposes of broadcasting on television channels and radio stations.

It will also review the mandate and functioning of the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal in order to make it a more “efficacious appellate body.”

The panel has been asked to suggest “more effective” legal remedies and penal provisions in the Act, particularly with reference to making unlawful copies, camcording in cinemas, interpolation or insertion of clips after certification and such similar issues.

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