Amendments to Cinematograph Act put up for public comments

Bringing in long-pending changes, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has put up amendments to the Cinematograph Act, 1952 for public comments. The proposed changes include three age-based categories — 7 plus years, 13 plus years and 16 plus years.

When the Act originally came about in 1952, there were only two categories of certificates — “U” (unrestricted public exhibition) and “A” (restricted to adult audiences), but two other categories were added in June, 1983 — “UA” (unrestricted public exhibition subject to parental guidance for children below the age of 12 years) and “S” (restricted to specialised audiences such as doctors or scientists).

As per the proposed amendments, the UA category will be sub-divided into three age-based categories of 7 plus, 13 plus and 16 plus years. The other U and A categories will continue.

These changes have been in offing for a very long time. An Expert Committee under the Chairmanship of Justice Mukul Mudgal was constituted in 2013 to examine the issues of certification under the Cinematograph Act, 1952. Another Committee of Experts was set up under the Chairmanship of film maker Shyam Benegal in 2016 to evolve broad guidelines for certification within the ambit of the Cinematograph Act and Rules.

The Ministry said that the recommendations made by both the Committees of Experts had been examined. But many of the committees’ recommendations have not been incorporated since the Ministry has still not done away with “A” category of certification. Mr. Benegal recommended that the Central Board of Film Certification should only be a film certification body whose scope should be restricted to categorising the suitability of a film to audience groups on the basis of age and maturity.

Heeding the demand from the film industry, the Ministry has included a new clause to check “film piracy”. In most cases, the Ministry noted that illegal duplication in cinema halls is the originating point for piracy. The current Cinematograph Act, 1952 had no provisions to deal with this menace. In this regard, it has also accepted the recommendation made by Standing Committee of IT headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. The committee in its 2020 report had said that the fine for piracy should be a percentage of the cost of production of the film.

The amended rules say, “If any person contravenes the provisions of section 6AA, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to three years and with a fine which shall not be less than three lakh rupees but which may extend to 5% of the audited gross production cost or with both.”

Comments from the public can be submitted till July 2.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 6:40:41 AM |

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