New Delhi: The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry on Friday said that the government is looking to introduce a new Cinematograph Act to redraw the role of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) or Censor Board.

CBFC, constituted under the Cinematograph Act 1952, reviews and certifies films for public exhibition. Its powers to certify films for public consumption were, however, introduced by way of an amendment in 1959.

“We have decided to redo the Cinematograph Act. We are in advanced stages of discussion," said minister of state for I&B Rajyavardhan Rathore, speaking to reporters at the National Media Centre in Delhi.

This comes three months after a committee headed by the veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal submitted its report on the functioning of CBFC on 26 April. The committee, in its recommendations, had suggested a revision in the processes for certifying films and the censorship involved therein.

“The Act is very small with just 18 sections and instead of updating it, we might as well have a new Act," Rathore said, clarifying that the government has never interfered with what people want to see and does not intend to do so now.

In June, CBFC after reviewing the controversial drugs drama Udta Punjab had suggested 13 cuts in the film—a decision which was challenged in the Bombay high court. This was later reduced to one cut by the court based on its reading of the script.

Former I&B minister Arun Jaitley had then hinted at the need for a radical change in the present certification system amidst the raging row over CBFC’s power of certification and censorship, according to a Press Trust of India report dated 9 June. “The correct word is certification and not censorship. Certification norms will have to be liberal," he had said.

Also read: Censor board pushes for new ‘Q’ rating for ‘quality’ Hindi films

The new law, apart from introducing a liberal system for film certification, is likely to broaden the categories under which films are certified. Under the current law, after a film is examined, it is rated under one of four categories—namely, U (unrestricted public exhibition), A (restricted to adults), U/A (unrestricted public exhibition with parental discretion required for children below 12 years) or S (restricted to a special class of persons).

In its recommendations seeking to revamp CBFC, the Benegal committee had suggested a change in certification categories. It sought that apart from U category, the UA category could be broken up into further sub-categories—UA12+ and UA15+. The A category should also be sub-divided into A and AC (adult with caution) categories.

Close