Centre To Pass Bill Allowing Re-Censoring of Cleared Films?

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On Friday, the Centre sought public opinion on the latest draft of its Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which essentially proposes to bring back "revisionary powers" over the ruling of the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification).

In November 2000, the Supreme Court upheld a similar order in support of the Karnataka High Court that struck down the centre's power to re-certify films that have already been cleared.

The proposed draft also has sections that will vilify piracy and make it punishable with imprisonment or a fine, along with introducing age-based certification

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), has also suggested amending the act to let the Centre provide suggestions to the Chairman of the CBFC to re-examine the film, if it deems the film necessary for reconsideration.

A section of the existing Cinematography Act, 1952, allows the Centre to call for a recording of the proceedings that lead to the certification of a particular film.

This means that "the Central Government, if the situation so warranted, has the power to reverse the decision of the Board," said the I&B Ministry.

The ministry has also strengthened laws around piracy and proposed Section 6AA that says, "notwithstanding any law for the time being in force, no person shall, without the written authorisation of the author, be permitted to use any audio-visual recording device in a place to knowingly make or transmit or attempt to make or transmit or abet the making or transmission of a copy of a film or a part thereof."

The Cinematography (Amendment) 2019 Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 2019, after which it was also sent to the Standing Committee on Information Technology (2019-20), which presented its report in March 2020.

“The observations/recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Information Technology in the report have been examined and it is proposed to suitably revise the clauses in the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2019 based on the recommendations made by the Committee,” said the ministry.

(With inputs from The Indian Express).

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