Govt denies details of jury decisions on National Film Awards

Mumbai: The government has refused to disclose details of evaluation sheets of jury members who decide on National Film Awards, saying these papers are "confidential" and cannot be made public as per established rules.

Denying the information, the Directorate of Film Festival (DFF) said note sheets of each jury member remain with the person concerned and it does not ask them to give it back.

"DFF does not possess or take possession of assessment/ evaluation sheets or notes of jury members. They remain with the jury who treat it as confidential...," the DFF, which acts as a nodal agency to organise international and national film festivals within the country, said in its reply to an RTI query filed by PTI.

According to the reply, the results are provided to the Directorate in "final shape only".

"They (jury) do not share the material with each other or even with DFF. Results are provided to DFF in the final shape only.

Jury members carry their sheets with them when they leave. Jury members are not asked to handover their assessment material to DFF," it said.

Interestingly, the DFF cited Clause 21 (C) of its own regulation to deny the information thus flouting the norms set under the Right to Information Act, 2005. According to Section 22 of the RTI Act, "the provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923, and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law
other than this Act."

Whereas, the DFF rule says that the jury members shall maintain strict confidentiality regarding the deliberations/ recommendations in respect of awards to various categories.

"In case of any violation by jury members, he/she would be debarred for life from becoming a jury member in National Film Awards/Indian Panorama/International Film Festival of India," the rules say.

"They (note sheets) are taken back with them by jury members when they leave after completion of the assignment," the reply said.

National Film Awards are given every year under different categories to encourage creative people at regional and country level. The 58th NFA were announced last month in the national capital.


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