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​The draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021.

  Jul 26, 2021

​The draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021.

Q. Why is this in news?
A.

The draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021 is recently released by the Centre. It seeks to amend the Cinematograph Act of 1952.
 
Q. What are its Key Provisions?
A.
  1. Revision of certification: This provision will give the Centre “revisionary powers” and enable it to “re-examine” films already cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
  2. Age-based certification: It seeks to introduce age-based categorisation and classification. It proposes to divide the existing categories (U, U/A and A) into further age-based groups: U/A 7+, U/A 13+ and U/A 16+.
  3. Provision against piracy: At present, there are no enabling provisions to check film piracy. Violation shall be punishable with imprisonment and fine.
  4. Eternal certificate: It proposes to certify films for perpetuity. Currently a certificate issued by the CBFC is valid only for 10 years.
 
Q. What are the Concerns associated?
A.
  1. Power of the Centre to order for recertification may lead to an additional layer of direct government censorship going beyond that envisaged by the existing process run by the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC).
  2. This provision also goes against the Supreme Court’s view that the government has no right to demand censorship once the Board has certified a film has left the Centre powerless.
  3. Various groups or individuals often object to a film just before the release, but after the certification process. with the implementation of the proposed new rules, films could be held up longer for re-certification based on random objections, even if it is already certified by the cbfc.
 
Q. What does the government say on this?
A.
The government cites the “reasonable restrictions” placed by the constitution in Article 19 of the constitution to justify exercising its powers to act as a super-censor for films about which it receives complaints – even if the CBFC, which is the official body empowered to implement the Act, finds those film do not trigger those restrictions.