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Panel moots age-based film certification

Proposes draft Cinematograph Bill to replace 1952 Act.

Written by Ruhi Tewari | New Delhi |
October 10, 2013 1:41:19 am

The empowered committee under Justice (retd) Mukul Mudgal set up to re-examine the Cinematograph Act,1952 and look into issues of certification has recommended introducing age-based certification for films for the first time in the country,thereby increasing the number of categories of certification.

In India,films are currently certified into four categories — ‘U’ (for universal viewing),‘A’ (for viewing by adult or 18+ viewers),‘UA’ (for films which children can view if accompanied by adults or in other words,parental guidance) and ‘S’ (for a specialised audience,such as doctors).

According to sources in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,the Justice Mudgal committee has recommended increasing the number of certification categories and bringing in age-specific ones. The ministry is yet to scrutinise the report.

The draft Cinematograph Bill 2010 had incorporated two age-specific categories of 12+ and 15+. The Justice Mudgal committee has proposed a draft Cinematograph Bill to replace the 1952 Act.

The committee,set up in February this year in view of the controversy surrounding the ban of Kamal Hasaan’s Vishwaroopam by the Jayalalithaa-led Tamil Nadu government despite the Censor Board’s clearance,submitted its recommendations to the I&B ministry on Wednesday. The eight-member panel led by Justice Mudgal,retired chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court,was constituted with the mandate of suggesting statutory changes to enable the government to deal with “contemporary requirements of

certification”.

According to sources,the empowered committee has suggested special categories of certification for television screening as well. Last year,the ministry had stalled the screening of Dirty Picture for prime time viewing. It has also recommended an overhaul in the method of appointing members of screening committees under the Central Board of Film Certification,from the current system of largely “political appointments” to mandating some minimum qualification for members.

The committee has also made recommendations on other related issues,including advisory panels,treatment of piracy and jurisdiction of the appellate tribunal.

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