The following is an excerpt from the 2013 Report Of The Committee Of Experts To Examine Issues Of Certification Under the Cinematograph Act, 1952, chaired by the author.
Cinema is an artistic expression of ideas, stories and often opinions, sometimes inspired by reality occasionally set to music, designed to enthrall, enchant, or simply to entertain. There are few other mediums of communication that can claim rival levels of pervasive influence and presence in our daily lives.
History shows that films have sparked off political debate and threatened governments, heralded social change causing society to deviate from age-old dogma and also sent real life lovers to their death in their misplaced hope of emulating the classic romances. It is perhaps in salute to such impelling powers of persuasion that it is the only form of art, deemed fit to be regulated by an Act of Parliament.
The present Cinematograph Act was enacted in the year 1952. Cinema has undergone a radical change since. The medium of cinema, the tools and technology associated with it and even its cherished audience have metamorphosed through time. Upon this Committee falls the task of reviewing and recommending legislation, which will regulate, certify and license facets of this ever changing and precocious art form. We have endeavored to accomplish this task to the best of our ability.
From the Preliminary Statement of the Report Of The Committee Of Experts To Examine Issues Of Certification Under the Cinematograph Act, 1952 (28th September 2013, chaired by the author (the “Mudgal Committee”) paras. 1 and 2. [Editors’ Note: The committee was tasked with recommending ways in which India could transition from censoring films to certifying them much like the Motion Picture Association of America rates films by categories of viewers. The author, a former Chief Justice of the High Court of Haryana and Punjab, was the Chairperson of that committee.]
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Unfortunately for India’s film industry, the change in name of India’s film censorship body from the “Central Board of Film Censors” to the “Central Board of Film Certification” (“CBFC”) did not improve the film certification process. The Board continues to function as a censorship board and not as a certification board.