oppn parties Implement Benegal Committee Report on Film Certification

News Snippets

  • Trouble brews in Bihar JD(U)-BJP alliance as Bihar police asks special branch officers to keep tabs on RSS activities
  • Trust vote in Karnataka assembly today. With rebel MLAs deciding to stay away after the SC order, the Congress-JD(S) government is likely to fall as it does not have the numbers
  • Amit Shah says the government will identify and deport illegal immigrants from all parts of the country
  • Reports from Pakistan confirm that Hafiz Saeed has been arrested and sent to jail
  • After the SC order, Karnataka Speaker says he will go by the Constitution in deciding on the resignations of the 16 MLAs
  • Rebel MLAs say they will not attend the trust vote on Thursday
  • Supreme Court rules that rebel MLAs cannot be forced to attend the assembly and vote in the floor test
  • Both the Centre and the Assam government have sought re-verification of up to 20% of draft NRC data
  • Pakistan opens its airspace for Indian planes
  • Dilapidated building collapses in Mumbai, killing more than 10 people while many were still trapped
  • Kulbhushan Jadhav case verdict to be delivered today by the ICJ
  • A Vistara flight landed in Lucknow with just 5 to 10 minutes of fuel left in the tank
  • Supreme Court to decide on Karnataka MLAs plea today
  • Karnataka alliance to face floor test on Thursday
  • China says that the next Dalai Lama will be appointed by it
International Court of Justice agrees with India, stays Kulbhushan Jadhav's execution. It asks Pakistan to allow consular access to the accused.
oppn parties
Implement Benegal Committee Report on Film Certification

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
With their combined experience, members of the Shyam Benegal committee on film certification have presented their report to the government which contains excellent suggestions to streamline the operations of the CBFC and make decisions transparent.

In a bold suggestion, the committee has recommended that the CBFC be denied the power to snip and cut films. Rather, they have said that there should be two separatesub- categories under U/A and A certifications. In the U/A (parental guidance) category, they have recommended that there should be one for under 12 years and another for under 15 years. Similarly, in the A category, one should be normal while the other should be “with caution.”

They have also recommended that the filmmakers should apply for the classification they want based on their target audience. The CBFC should only deny to certify the film on two accounts: one, if it is beyond the ceiling laid down in the highest category of certification and two if it contravenes the provisions of Section 5B (1) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952. It has said that the CBFC chairman should be the guide and should not involve himself in the day to day work of film certification.

If film content is art, then it is criminal to ask the maker cut a part of his creation. Hence, the committee’s proposal that there should be a certification for adults with caution is laudable. If people are warned that the film contains disturbing content and if they still go and watch it, it is their choice. Also, the ceilings up to which certification under each category, including the highest category, can be granted should be clearly defined and should not be left to the whims of the certifying authority.

The committee has also recommended that apart from other representations (like from local film industry, film societies, NFDC, National Commission of Women and National Council for Protection of Child Rights in equal 25 percent proportion), the overall composition of Regional Advisory Panels of the CBFC should have at least 50 percent women. Those appointed to such regional panels must be acquainted with the language of the film being certified.

When the committee was appointed, I & B minister Arun Jaitley had said that he wanted a “controversy free” CBFC. Now is his chance to do that. By implementing the committee’s report, he can make CBFC do exactly what its name suggests – certify a film and not censor it.