India

New Cinematograph Act to let government take over Censor Board

13 Jul 2017 | By Vaneet Randhawa
Will a new Cinematograph Bill change anything?

The Draft Bill for the new Cinematograph Act is out and looks like the government will now be able to "take over the certification body under special circumstances".

The government will take over if the situation makes it necessary to do so in "public interest".

However, the bill does not define the landscape of such circumstances where the government will take over.

In context: Will a new Cinematograph Bill change anything?

26 Apr 2016Shyam Benegal committee submits report on revamping CBFC

In its report, the Shyam Benegal Committee appointed by Modi said that CBFC should only be a film certification body and not impose cuts and modifications on the films.

However, the committee retained the right to deny certification to movies.

The committee recommended more specific categorization like UA12+, UA15+.

It said that the A category be sub-divided into A, AC (Adult with Caution) categories.

13 Jul 2017New Cinematograph Act to let government take over Censor Board

Love India news?
Stay updated with the latest happenings.

Previous attempt to give Board's control to government deemed unconstitutional

Under the previous section 6(1) of the earlier Cinematograph Act of 1952, the state had powers over the rulings of the Board. However, in its 2000 judgment, Supreme Court called the section unconstitutional.
New provisions under the Cinematograph draft bill

13 Jul 2017New provisions under the Cinematograph draft bill

The new draft bill has taken into consideration the recommendations of the Shyam Benegal committee for the restructuring of CBFC given in 2016.

The draft bill has also curtailed the CBFC's authority to recommend cuts or changes to a film before certifying it.

A new 'Adult with Caution' category too has been added to the list of categories.

13 Jul 2017CBFC can still deny certification to a film

Under the new bill, the CBFC can still deny certification to a film if it contradicts a section of the Cinematograph Bill.

These contravention points are based on Article 19 (2) of the Indian constitution.

Under Article 19 (2), certification can be denied to films dealing with matters of India's sovereignty and integrity, security of the State, public order, defamation of court etc.

DetailsCritique against the new bill: Will weaken CBFC

While the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry is still consulting with stakeholders over the bill, certain people have critiqued the new bill claiming that it will clip the CBFC's wings and hit its autonomy.

Provisions that give the power to supersede the board and also the authority to take a suo moto resolution to suspend showing of a film seem problematic.

Love India news?
Stay updated with the latest happenings.

13 Jul 2017Filmmakers unsure if the new bill will help

Filmmaker, Pankaj Butalia was of the view that "nothing will change if the CBFC continues to exercise the power of not clearing films at all".

With no clear interpretation of Article 19 (2), films on subjects like war and riots will have to suffer CBFC's interpretations.

Besides, the government taking control could only mean a "stricter control" over films.


Related Timelines