The panel was set up after the CBFC, under the chairmanship of Pahlaj Nihalani, ran into several controversies over what was seen as arbitrary censoring of films.
The panel has recommended that the CBFC’s role be that of a certification body, rather than a censoring one, and that a revised rating system be followed so that the board does not have to “use scissors” on any films.
Among the panel’s recommendations is the introduction of a more refined rating system: It has suggested that the U/A category have a 12+ classification (suitable for those of 12 years and above) and a 15+ classification.
In the ‘Adult’ rating as well, the panel has suggested that an additional category be created — ‘Adult with Caution’.
In addition, the panel has also made recommendations about the size of board (not more than nine, with one member representing each regional office of the CBFC), the role of the chairperson (as a guide rather than being involved in day-to-day certification), and moving the application process (for certification) online.
The panel — which included members like Kamal Haasan, Piyush Pandey and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra — has also suggested that re-certification of films be allowed if they are being broadcast on television.
Presently, the CBFC follows the following rating system for films being exhibited in India: U (unrestricted/universal), U/A (unrestricted, but parental guidance for those under 12), A (adults only), S (specialised audiences).