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Feb 04, 2013 at 08:02pm IST

'Vishwaroopam' row: Centre forms Committee to review Cinema Act

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of row over Kamal Haasan's movie 'Vishwaroopam', the centre on Monday set up a committee to review the powers of the Censor Board and suggest measures to enable it to deal with contemporary requirements of certification.

The eight-member committee, headed by Justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal, would also examine the role of central government vis-a-vis the powers of the state governments in allowing cinematographic exhibition of films.

The certification of films for exhibition comes under the domain of the centre as per entry 60 of union list while entry 33 of the state list gives state governments powers over theatres and dramatic performances, cinemas subject to the provisions of entry 60.

'Vishwaroopam' row: Centre forms Committee to review Cinema Act

The 8-member committee would also examine the role of central government vis-a-vis the powers of the state governments in allowing cinematographic exhibition of films.

During the controversy of 'Vishwaroopam', there was a view that the movie already had a CBFC certification required for its release, while the Tamil Nadu government had held back its release citing law and order concerns.

Retired chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Mukul Mudgal is the chairperson of the committee while Lalit Bhasin, chairperson of Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), actor Sharmila Tagore, lyricist Javed Akhtar, Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairperson Leela Samson would be members.

Film Federation of India President L Suresh, lawyer Rameeza Kakim and Raghvendra Singh, Joint Secretary in the I&B ministry are the other members of the committee, which will submit its report in a time frame of two months.

The committee will also review the process of film certification including the need to have special categories of certification for broadcasting on TV and radio.

In a statement, the I&B ministry said that the terms of references for the committee allow it to review the mandate and functioning of CBFC and recommend measures including statutory changes to enable the board to deal with contemporary requirements of certification.

The committee will review the process of certification under the Act and Rules, including the mechanism followed by Examining and Revising Committees and also Categories of certification, existing and proposed, under the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2013.

The committee will also suggest measures to make the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), a more efficacious appellate body.

Information and Broadcasting minister Manish Tewari in a post on social networking site Twitter said that the - Terms of References of Committee on Cinematgraphic framework give latitude to review every aspect of certification process holistically and ensure integrity.

Tewari had last week suggested the need for the formation of such a committee.

"Film certification powers are within the exclusive domain of the central government in terms of the constitutional scheme. It is imperative that the integrity of the constitutional scheme must be upheld. Therefore a view has been taken to re-examine the statutory framework to ensure the optimisation of this mandate," he had said.

The committee will also suggest more effective legal remedies and penal provisions in the law, particularly with reference to making unlawful copies, camcording in cinema halls, interpolation/insertion of clips after certification and other issues which it may deem fit to deliberate upon.

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