V’roopam row: Centre to have relook at Cinema Act

New Delhi: Amid a raging row over Kamal Haasan's film "Vishwaroopam", the Centre today decided to have a "relook" at the Cinematograph Act and set up a committee to make the law more robust to ensure movies do not get stuck after clearances by the film certification board.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari noted that the Act needed to be revisited to remove uncertainty with regard to a movie even after it has been cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification.

He told reporters that he has asked the Information and Broadcasting Secretary to form a committee to have a relook at the Act and see if there is a need to amend it.

Tewari said the Committee will look into whether there is a need to make the "statutory architecture or the regulatory framework" of the Act more "robust" to ensure that the CBFC decision is implemented by the states.

As per the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, the Centre has powers to certify a film to be either fit or unfit for exhibition.

"The Central government exercises those powers through the Central Board of Film Certification. Once CBFC comes to a certain conclusion, then it is expected that the state governments would implement that decision as this exclusively falls under the Centre's jurisdiction," he said.

His observation comes against the backdrop of Vishwaroopam being banned by the J Jayalalithaa-led Tamil Nadu government despite the Censor Board's clearance.

On Tamil Nadu government's contention that there were intelligence reports of a threat to law and order if the film is screened, Tewari said, "If the state governments wish to raise concerns, which may be bonafide, and this has the effect of putting a stopple on the decision of the CBFC then perhaps there is a need to revisit the Cinematograph Act."