Censor board flouted norms in certifying films, RTI query reveals

172 "A" category certified films have been converted into "UA" category ones.

Updated - November 16, 2021 05:12 pm IST

Published - July 07, 2015 12:14 pm IST - Mumbai

CAG also noted that approximately 4.10 lakh entries for censor certificates and 60 lakh pages of feature film files were yet to be digitised despite incurring huge sum for the purpose. Illustration: Satwik Gade

CAG also noted that approximately 4.10 lakh entries for censor certificates and 60 lakh pages of feature film files were yet to be digitised despite incurring huge sum for the purpose. Illustration: Satwik Gade

A CAG report has slammed the Censor Board for flouting several norms and converting 172 “A” category certified films into “UA” category films and 166 films of “UA” category into “U” category films during 2012-15 without taking any law or provision into account, according to an RTI query.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) also severely indicted the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for fabrication of documents and favouritism while issuing film certificates.

The CAG under the head “Inspection Report on Account Maintained by the office of CBFC, Mumbai” for the period from 1st October 2013 to 31st March 2015, has slammed the Board for its lackadaisical approach in several areas including incomplete data entry work of historical records despite incurring a huge sum for the purpose of digitisation of CBFC work.

In its 70-page reply furnished in response to an RTI query by activist Vihar Durve, the CAG said that during test check of CBFC records it observed that CBFC has converted 172 “A” category certified films into “UA” category films and 166 films of “UA” category was converted into “U” category films during 2012-15 without taking any law or provision into account which led to irregular conversion of films.

CAG also noted that approximately 4.10 lakh entries for censor certificates and 60 lakh pages of feature film files were yet to be digitised despite incurring huge sum for the purpose. “There has been no revision of certification fees and cess after the lapse of more than six years and 12 years respectively. It has mentioned in its report that the CBFC got Rs. 14 crore (approx) as certification fees from 2011 to 2013 while it received Rs. 5.5 crore as cess in the same period, says the report.

CAG has also found that as per official records two movies naming “Gabriel” and “Three Can Play That Game” were examined by Mrs J S Mahamuni and Mr S G Mane on February 2009 and February 2009 respectively.

However, when CBFC issued the certificates it showed that movies were examined by Mrs V K Chawak, Secretary to the Chairperson, on March 30, 2009 despite that these were not re-applied for re-examination.

Terming this as a scam and naming it as “Censor Gate”, Mr. Durve strongly criticised the Board.

Censor Board CEO Shravan Kumar could not be contacted as he was in Banglore.

Chairman Pahlaj Nihlani, however said, “I am not in receipt of the inspection report. These happenings took place quite long back, when I was not in-charge, but I will definitely make sure that such irregularities do not take place in future anymore.”

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