Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu has assured that the government is ready to implement a majority of Shyam Benegal committee's recommendations and will soon amend the Cinematograph Act.
Naidu commented after the last leg of the discussion with all the stake-holders on Cinematograph Act in Mumbai yesterday, said that the government is in agreement with most of the recommendations of the report and all efforts would be made to facilitate the amendments.
The Shyam Benegal committee, which was constituted to suggest required amendments in certain sections of the 1952 law, had submitted its report in April last year. The committee was constituted after repeated controversies arising after the appointment of Pahlaj Nihalani as the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief by the NDA government.
The committee had recommended laying down rules and regulations for film certification taking note of best practices in various parts of the world and giving sufficient and adequate space for artistic and creative expression.
The report primarily states that CBFC should primarily be allowed to issue certificated to the films depending on its content.
The committee recommended that it should only be allowed to cancel certification under following circumstances:
· When a film contains anything that contravenes the provisions of Section 5B (1) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
· When content in a film crosses the ceiling laid down in the highest category of certification.
The committee observed that an owner of a film has complete rights over it. Any alteration or change in the film can only be made by the owner or with his consent.
It recommended that the current system of suggesting modifications and amendments to a film by the CBFC should be done away with and the board must function only as a film certification body.
The committee also recommended -
· Online submission of applications as well as simplification of forms and accompanying documentation.
· Recertification of a film for purposes of telecast on television or for any other purpose should be permitted.
· In order to preserve Indian Cinema, the committee recommends that every applicant be asked to deposit the Director's Cut in the NFAI for preservation of Indian Cinema, instead of the certified version, in order to truly reflect the cinematic history of Indian cinema.
The committee had recommended, keeping in mind the main objectives to ensure that children and adults are protected from potentially harmful or unsuitable content. It will help the viewers to make better informed decision, and artistic expression and creative freedom are not unduly curbed in the process of classification of films.
The applicant must specify the category of certification being sought and the target audience.
The committee has also proposed some new guidelines for certification that have been divided into three categories: i) general, (ii) issue related, and (iii) category specific.
The general guidelines define the approach to be followed while certifying a film, with respect to general factors in a film, such as context, theme, etc.
The issue-related guidelines-list issues in a society that apply to all categories of certification. Category specific guidelines lay down the approach that CBFC should take with respect to various categories of film certification.
The committee recommended that the CBFC should confine itself to-submission of an annual report to the central government, containing an analytical study of the trends in the film industry, to be tabled in Parliament each year.
It also mentions that the chairman should only play the role of a guiding mechanism and not involve himself/herself in day to day activities of CFBC.
Naidu also took to Twitter to share the news by writing, "In consultation with film industry representatives on the proposed Cinematograph Act in view of Justice Mudgal Committee Report, and Shyam Benegal Committee Report and suggestions on Anti-piracy measures in Mumbai."