The Centre is seeking public opinions on the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has opened the forum to the public to send their comments on the draft bill by July 2, 2021.
The bill proposes penalizing film piracy with a jail term and fine. The bill will also authorize the central government to order recertification of an already certified film, it will also introduce an age-based certification.
As per the law, the certification of films under the ‘unrestricted public exhibition’ category will be amended from the UA (unrestricted public exhibition subject to parental guidance for children above the age of twelve) category and sub-divided based on age to U/A 7+, U/A 13+, and U/A 16+ (unrestricted public exhibition subject to parental guidance for children above the age of seven, thirteen, and sixteen).
The draft provides a re-evaluation of an already certified film based on violation of section 5B(1) of the act.
“Since the provisions of Section 5B(1) are derived from Article 19(2) of the Constitution and are non-negotiable, it is also proposed in the Draft Bill to add a provision to sub-section (1) of section 6 to the effect that on receipt of any references by the Central Government in respect of a film certified for public exhibition, on account of violation of Section 5B(1) of the Act, the Central Government may if it considers it necessary so to do,
direct the Chairman of the Board to re-examine the film,” said the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The Ministry said at present, there are not sufficient laws to keep a tab on piracy in the Cinematograph Act, 1952. Hence, the draft bill introduces section 6AA, upon violation of the act, a person can face a jail term of three months, which can be extended to three years, and a fine of Rs 3 lakh, which can be extended to 5 percent.
The government said piracy of films on the internet causes a huge loss to the film industry.
The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Rajya Sabha to tackle the issues of piracy. It was sent to a standing committee on Information Technology (2019-2020), which presented its report in March 2020. The report asked for revising the clauses of the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2019.
The Cinematograph Act, 1952 ensures the establishment of a Central Board of Film Certification. The regulatory body provides certificates to the makers of the film for public exhibition. The board ensures films portraying sexual activity, communal disharmony, glorifying substance abuse, religion, and extreme violence go through stringent censorship.