The I & B ministry has proposed amendment to the Cinematograph Act, 1952. It has put forth the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to make the process of certification of films more effective in view of the changing times. Currently, there are three categories of certificates: ‘U’, ‘UA’ and ‘A’. While ‘U’ stands for universal or unrestricted certification, and ‘A’ for adults certification, ‘UA’ denotes parental guidance for children under 12 years of age. The amendment seeks to sub-categorise the ‘UA’ category into age-based classification such as ‘UA 7+’, ‘UA 13+’ and ‘UA 16+’.
The amendment also proposes that the Centre may, if it deems it necessary, direct the chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification to re-examine a particular film. The Karnataka high court had recently said that the central government cannot exercise revisional powers for films already certified by the CBFC.
Under the proposed rules, the I & B ministry will have the option to invoke constitutional provisions to impose reasonable restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to any offence.
It may be recalled that in April, the ministry of law and justice had abolished the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), a statutory body constituted under the Cinematograph Act, 1952, by the I & B ministry, to hear appeals of applicants aggrieved by an order of the CBFC.
to block content which is against the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the country.