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Benegal-led panel has recommended CBFC should function only as certification body


New Delhi, June 28: A panel headed by noted film director Shyam Benegal has recommended that there should be no system of imposing excisions, modifications and changes to a movie and the CBFC should function purely as a certification body, the government informed Lok Sabha on Friday.

In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on the need to remove the pre-censorship powers of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said the Committee of Experts, constituted under Benegal, submitted the first part of its report in April 2016 and the final part in June 2016. The report submitted by Committee of Experts was examined clause-wise in the ministry, he said.

File photo of Shyam Benegal

"The Committee of Experts has, inter-alia, recommended that there should be no system of imposing excisions, modifications and changes to a film and that the CBFC functions purely as a certification body," the minister said. "The committee has recommended new categories of certification, viz. UA12+, UA15+, and AC (Adult with caution) and suggested that the scope of CBFC should largely only be to decide what category of audiences can watch a particular film, unless the film violates provisions of Section 5B(2) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952, or exceed the limitations defined in the highest category of certification recommended by the committee," he said.

Majority of the recommendations contained in the report require amendment in the Cinematograph Act and Rules, Javadekar said. It was felt that implementation of the recommendations, especially those requiring important amendments in the Act or Rules, be done after further consultations, he said.

A consultation meeting between the then Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Minister of Law and Justice, Minister of Finance and Minister of Human Resources Development was held on March 16, 2017, to deliberate on the issue of repeal or amendment of the Cinematograph Act, Javadekar said.

Another round of consultation in this regard by the then minister with the chief minister of Maharashtra and the representatives of film industries was held on June 6, 2017 at Mumbai, he said. However, due to intricate complexities involved in the matter no decision has been taken by the government, Javadekar said.

In response to another question in Lok Sabha on Sanskrit course in journalism, Javadekar said the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha (SLBSRSV) in September 2017, for jointly conducting a three month Advanced Certificate course in Sanskrit Journalism. The certification is given jointly by SLBSRSV and the IIMC, he said.

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