Benegal Committee on film certification invites public views within guidelines' ambit

NEW DELHI: The Shyan Benegal Committee examining the certification process followed by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) set up early this month has sought the views and suggestions of the public in this regard.


While noting that the views should be restricted to two pages covering all important aspects, the notice on the Information and Broadcasting Ministry website says the comments must be “within the ambit of the existing Act, Rules and guidelines, which have withstood the scrutiny of various Courts.”


The comments may be forwarded to NFDC to               


The notice also gives the terms of reference of the Committee and says the guidelines are expected to provide aholistic interpretation of the provisions of the Cinematograph Act and the Rules.The present guidelines have also been reproduced in the notice.


The other Members of the Committee include filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, creative director Piyush Pandey, media veteran Bhawana Somayya, NFDC MD Nina Lath Gupta and Joint Secretary (Films) Sanjay Murthy as Member Convenor. The Committee has been requested to submit its recommendations within two months.  


Interestingly, although media reports had indicated that Gautam Ghose and Kamal Haasan had been included as members at the request of Benegal, the notice on the Ministry website makes no mention of this. 


When setting up the Committee in later in a meeting with I&B Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State Rajyavardhan Rathore and Secretary Sunil Arora, it had been stated that the aim was to suggest a paradigm that ensures that artistic creativity and freedom do not get stifled/curtailed even as films are certified.


Noting that “in most countries of the world there is a mechanism/process of certifying feature films and documentaries,” an official release had also said that the attempt should also be that “the people tasked with the work of certification understand these nuances.”


The recommendations of this Committee are expected to provide a holistic framework and enable those tasked with the work of certification of films to discharge their responsibilities keeping in view this framework. 


During their deliberations, the Committee would be expected to take note of the best practices in various parts of the world, especially where the film industry is given sufficient and adequate space for creative and aesthetic expression. 


The Committee would recommend broad guidelines / procedures under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act 1952 / Rules for the benefit of the chairperson and other members of the Screening Committee. The staffing pattern of Central Board of Film Certification would also be looked into in an effort to recommend a framework which would provide efficient / transparent user friendly services. 


This is not the first time that such a committee has been set up. After earlier attempts, the last Committee that examined similar issues was headed by the eminent Mukul Mudgal. However, no action has been taken on that report submitted in 2013.

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