A committee headed by eminent filmmaker Shyam Benegal has recommended cutting the powers of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to censor scenes or sequences of any film. It said the role of the board should only be restricted to certifying films for audience groups based on their age and maturity.The committee said the CBFC should refuse certification only when a film contains anything that contravenes the provisions of section 5B (1) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Clause (1) of section 5(B) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952, states,”A film shall not be certified for public exhibition if, in the opinion of the authority competent to grant the certificate, the film or any part of it is against the interests 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 report stated a film can be sent to a revising committee for examination once again, on account of alleged violation of the section of the Act. It also said that certification can be refused when its ‘content crosses the ceiling laid down in the highest category of certification.’The Benegal panel has also recommended increasing the number of categories, including breaking the UA Category into UA12+ & UA15+. It also recommended dividing the Adult (A) category into A and AC (Adult with Caution) categories.Talking to dna, Benegal said, “We are against the CBFC’s use of scissors to cut scenes or sequences from a film. It should only certify films in categories and we have also recommended increasing the number of categories.””AC category films, mostly those with explicit sex scenes or gory violence scenes, will have restricted releases. They may not be shown in multiplexes and may be shown only post 11pm,” Benegal said.He added, “If the ministry accepts the recommendations, the Cinematograph Act, 1952, may see a few amendments.”For instance, just increasing the number of categories of films will require amendment of section 4 of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.In 2013, Justice Mukul Mudgal, retired Chief Justice of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana — has proposed a model Cinematograph Bill, in his panel’s report on governing cinema to the I&B ministry.The recommendations of his panel, including the draft cinematograph bill, are yet to be implemented by the I&B ministry.In its recommendations, the committee said the applicant submitted a film to the CBFC must specify the category of certification being sought and the target audience.The committee has recommended that the Board, including Chairman, should only play the role of a ‘guiding mechanism’ for the CBFC, and not be involved in the day-to-day affairs of certification of films.It further stated that the total composition of the Board should not be more than nine members and one chairman.Regarding the Regional Advisory Panel, the committee has stated that all nine regions will have advisory panels comprising people who are acquainted with the languages being certified by that regional office.The report stated that members recommended by the National Film Development Corporation to the Central Government, will account for 25% of the membership. Members of the general public recommended by the FFSI (Federation of Film Societies of India), members recommended by the National Council for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and National Commission of Women (NCW), and representatives of the local film industry, as recommended by FFI (Film Federation of India) will comprise 25% each of the membership. Women must have 50% representation on each panel, it said.The committee sought time till June 20 to give recommendations on the certification of films related to clearances to be obtained from the Animal Welfare Board under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act; and depiction of smoking in films wherein films are required to show a disclaimer in every scene that involves smoking, as per a directive from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.The committee set up in January 1 this year submitted its recommendations to information and broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday. Other members of the committee included actor Kamal Hassan, filmmakers Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra and Goutam Ghose, advertising guru Piyush Pandey, film journalist Bhawana Somaaya, National Film Development Corporation managing director Nina Lath Gupta and K Sanjay Murthy, joint secretary (films) in the I&B ministry.

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Cut Censor Board’s powers to block films: Panel headed by Shyam Benegal