Panel on Cinematograph Act will also look into late-night films on TV

The committee set up by the government to re-examine the Cinematograph Act in the light of the Vishwaroopam controversy would not only review the "mandate and functioning" of the Censor Board and suggest statutory changes to enable it to deal with "contemporary requirements of certification" but also deal with special certification of movies for television screening.

The eight-member panel, announced by I&B Minister Manish Tewari last week, will be led by retired chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Mukul Mudgal. The panel would examine the role of the Centre vis--vis the powers of state governments in allowing cinematographic exhibition of films.

The panel, the ministry, said, will "review the mandate and functioning of Central Board of Film Certification and recommend measures, including statutory changes to enable the CBFC to deal with contemporary requirements of certification and increased transparency and efficiency". It will look into the process of certification, mechanism followed, categories of certification and requirement of special categories of certification for broadcasting on TV channels and radio stations.

The issue of special categories of certification for television screening assumes significance given the fact that the present rules say programmes unsuitable for children for instance a U/A-certified film can be shown only after 11pm. The ministry had last year stalled the screening of Dirty Picture for prime-time viewing.

Besides, it will review the mandate and functioning of Film Certification Appellate Tribunal to make it a more efficacious appellate body. Sources in the ministry said that it was in favour of expanding the ambit of the FCAT to allow state governments, individuals and organisations to approach it with objections regarding certification. The FCAT panel, among others, includes chairperson Lalit Bhasin and CBFC chairperson Leela Samson.

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