New Delhi: The 6-member panel of noted film professionals, headed by veteran director Shyam Benegal, has sought to clip powers of the censor board by recommending to let the viewers make informed viewing choices on films.
The panel report made public by the information and broadcasting ministry through reply to a Rajya Sabha question stresses that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) “not to oder excisions, modifications or amendments as the scope of certification process to be limited only to suggest what category of audiences (age groups) can watch a particular film.”
In a snub to CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nihalani, the panel has also stressed that the CBFC chief and board members should play a role in guiding the board at apex level than participating in routine certification process. It also suggested to reduce the number of members on the board.
Minister of State Colonel (retd) Rajyavardhan Rathore, who replied to the question asked by Anil Desai, said recommendations of the panel require detailed scrutiny.
Asked if the censor board is mandated to preserve values of traditional Indian culture and high moral values while clearing the movies (as often done by Nihalani), the minister said Section 5-B of the Cinematograph Act which sets the principles for guidance in certifying the films for public exhibition clearly states to refuse the certification “if the film or any part of it is against the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or involves, defamation or contempt of court or is likely to incite the commission of any offence.” The Shyam Benegal panel has also endorsed this.
Some other recommendations of the panel are:
— New categories of certification other than ”U”, ”A” or ”UA”.
— Tatkal scheme for out-of-turn film certification.
— Re-examination of the film by CBFC on complaints received after certification on violation of provisions of Section 5B(1) of the Act.
— Advisory panel for revising committees to be selected from persons of indepth understanding of the Indian society, i.e. sociologists, anthropologists or psychologists or persons of eminence. It must have 20% representation from the film industry of the region.