Cinematography Act BY AKSHIT GUPTA @LEXCLIQ

The new cinematograph act was introduced by ministry of information and broadcasting. It threatens to take the autonomy of film making industry and CBFC and the power is gone to central government for grating license. The censor board of film making is always been in news. The information and broadcasting wanted amendment is current Act which would give the central government autonomous right than CBFC. Filmmakers are raging and are against these amendments of 2021they have gathered the Indian industry together to show their resentment.  

This issue was brought into parliamentary session and was discussed than ministry of information and broadcasting made clear that the act is misunderstood. They claimed that the ministry itself won’t have any power to censor the film, it won’t take the autonomous power from CBFC.  

 

Cinematography Act , 1952 

This act introduced the long and complex procedure for certification of the films before public consumption or before release in halls or cinemas. The union government of India have certain set of rules and guidelines that interpret the cuts and editing and certification given by CBFC. 

There are 4 categories of classification and those are: 

  • Unrestricted films 
  • Adult films 
  • Age restricted films which require guardian consent below the age of 12  
  • Restricted to certain profession 

CBFC has 9 regional offices who review the edits, cuts and certification given by CBFC. They are advised by the panel elected by the union parliament.  

CBFC has a very long and complex process to review the films. It’s a 3-step procedure followed by CBFC which includes taking expert opinions and managing all the disagreements. The regional member of panel assists the member of CBFC in classification and review. If there is any disagreement between the regional office and panel the issue is taken up by committee formed by CBFC. If the issue is still not resolved the disagreement is taken up to the higher authority I.e., the chairman of committee. 

Amendment: 

The new amendment proposed asks for 3 things which are: 

  • The category for division into age groups like 7+, 13+, 16+ 
  • It empowers the union government to ask the CBFC to reconsider the certificate issued if the government feels that it don’t conform to the guiding principle under section 5B (1). Under this section the CBFC can’t issue certificate of film if it goes against the Sovereignty, integrity of the state, security of the state, friendly relation with foreign state, public order, decency or morality or involves defamation and contempt of the court or is likely to incite the commission of the offence.  
  • The government also recommended adding section 6AA targeting piracy. They accept the judgment of standing committee and agreed upon a minimum punishment of 3 months which can be extended up to 3 years. The government also suggested a fine of 3lakhs but removed the 10 lakhs cap. It may now be extended till 5% of audited gross production cost or with both. 

 

Conclusion: 

The Indian government seeking the complete control over the Indian media and entertainment industry by taking the autonomous power from CBFC. The CBFC already follow all the guidelines made by union government. This amendment is just the extension and a root to get the power of media. According to CBFC, they already follow and governed by the union government as all the members of CBFC are elected by union government and all the rules and certification procedure are made by union government. The government has power to suspend, change, or revoke certification under section 5E and section 6(2). This amendment is against the 2000-year judgment in which supreme court and neglected the power of government over media because of which this amendment is ambiguous and can’t go against the decision of supreme court. The time frame given by the union committee is 14 days which is so short to decide on the matter which impacts the whole industry. This new amendment claims to suspend the certification on ground of as ambiguous as public decency without giving any valid reasons.  

The CBFC not just only classifies but also suggest their reviews from the media content based on government issued guidelines.  

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