CAG suggests cuts in censor board’s way of working

A scrutiny by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of 175 records from April 2013 in the Central Board of Film Certification has found that the time taken to issue certificates for films for distribution ranged between three and 491 days. The finding appears to endorse a common grouse among film-makers that certification is delayed inexplicably.

As the Shyam Benegal Committee has made recommendations to fix the problems afflicting the Board, the audit has faulted the body on several counts and rapped the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry for failing to provide a satisfactory response.

On record, no reasons are assigned for the delay after the examining committee grants the clearance certificates. In 31 cases from 2013-14 to 2014-15, the time taken for certification ranged between 75 and 491 days. The average is 169 days.

Not our fault: Ministry

The auditor came down heavily on the Ministry for not furnishing reasons for not recording the delay. Ministry sources put the blame on producers, saying they do not deposit the DVDs of their films with the Board in time — a required procedure.

“We are constantly trying to speed up the process within a week and it is not our fault,” a source said.

Further, the audit report found that the CBFC had converted 172 ‘A’-certified, or ‘adult’-category, films into ‘UA’ and 166 ‘UA’-certified films into ‘U’ from 2012 to 2015 without any provision in the Cinematograph Act, 1952, to do so. The Ministry’s response that there is no provision prohibiting recertification is not tenable, the audit report observed.

“Neither the Act nor the Rules as quoted by Ministry empower the CBFC to recertify films already certified and no norms and procedure have been framed by the Board for the purpose, rendering the act of conversion without requisite due diligence by the CBFC a discretionary and non-transparent exercise,” the audit report says. It squarely blames the Ministry and the Board for violating norms.

The need to recertify films has risen to allow the exhibition of films on cable and satellite television.

The CBFC issued certificates for public exhibition of video films imported into India, without obtaining essential documents and permission.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 10:37:55 PM |

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