Parliamentary  panel raps CBFC over certifying movies of big films ahead of others    

New Delhi: A parliamentary panel has rapped the Central Board Of Film Certification over granting of certificates to movies of big film makers ahead of other applicants, urging it to carry out a yearly internal audit and consider shortening of the certification process.

The Public Accounts Committee, in a report on ‘Working of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and Academic Activities of the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata’, tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, came down hard on the CBFC over delay in granting of certification and reiterated that a detailed inquiry into the cases of “inordinate delay” may be conducted urgently.

The panel’s reiteration of its recommendations made earlier came after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, under which the CBFC works, replied saying that online certification system provides a list of all applications for the certification chronologically with respect to the date of application and to the date of application approval by the scrutiny officer. “By and large all the films are examined chronologically,” the ministry said in its reply. The Mallikarjun Kharge-led committee, however, said it could not find any tenable reason for not issuing the certificate for months together.

 The panel, in its report, also said it was “dismayed to note that the CBFC in order to help big film makers” who had applied for certification very close to release date, granted certificates to their films ahead of other applicants even when there was no such urgency expressed. In its reply, the government said the CBFC has strived to help film makers without making any discrimination between a big or a small film maker.

 The ministry said the urgency for out of turn examination is seen on a case to case basis only and the CBFC, in order to facilitate such films and help the film makers avoid non-release as per schedule, enabled certification ahead of other applicants where there was no issue of urgency.

The committee said it has no option but to reiterate its earlier recommendation that the ministry or the CBFC may issue guidelines regarding alteration in the order of certification, carry out yearly internal audit of the system and consider shortening the time limit for film certification process so that films submitted for certificates are cleared in a defined and prescribed timeline in the wake of computerisation of the whole process.

The panel further noted that though ministry has been deliberating upon the amendments needed in the Cinematograph Act for a long time, nothing concrete has emerged. While amending the Act, the panel said that its recommendation of enabling self certification of the films may also be considered.

The CBFC is a statutory body under the ministry for regulation of films for public exhibition, under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952. Prasoon Joshi is heading the CBFC currently.

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