ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Certify, Not Censor

Why appoint another censorship committee to do what a previous one has done?

A time-worn strategy to deflect controversy is to form acommittee. So it comes as no surprise that rather thanacknowledge that it went wrong in appointing Pahlaj Nihalani, whose main qualification appears to be his devotion to Narendra Modi, to head the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), the Modi government has asked veteran film-maker Shyam Benegal to head a panel to create a “holistic framework” for the CBFC. No one questions either Benegal’s credentials or those of the others on the panel, or the very real need to look again at the entire process of film certification in India. But one must ask the need for such a committee when the government already has a fairly detailed set of recommendations put forward by another committee.

In February 2013, the previous United Progressive Alliance government had appointed Justice Mukul Mudgal, former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, to head a committee tasked to do precisely the same thing—examine issues of certification under the Cinematograph Act, 1952. Were its recommendations unacceptable to this government, or has it chosen to ignore them because the previous government constituted the committee?

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