Topic: Features of Cinematograph Bill, 2010

The Central Ministry for Information and Broadcasting has prepared a draft Cinematograph Bill 2010, which will soon replace the 60-year-old Cinematograph Act, 1952. The Government is mulling a multiple certification system for feature films by amending the Cinematograph Act, 1952 to conform to international norms.

The new bill suggests different slabs of rating for various age groups of film viewers. Under the new system, films would be certified by the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) under U, 12+, 15+, UA and A categories.

At present, Indian films are cleared by the CBFC under three categories of U (for films which can be universally viewed by all age groups), A (for viewers of 18 years and above), and UA (universal viewing but having certain scenes meant for restricted viewing). Under the proposed rating system, 12+ and 15+ certification would be given to films meant for audiences above 12 and 15 years respectively. Apart from this, films could also be cleared under 'S' category. This certification, according to the draft bill, would be given to any film made on people belonging to a particular profession or class.

According to another clause in the draft bill, the Censor Board would also have powers to prevent exhibition of any film, the content of which "is against the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, or involves defamation or contempt of court or is likely to incite the commission of any offence."

The government would also be empowered to establish advisory panels at all the regional centres of CBFC, which could consist of members qualified to judge the effects of films on the public. At least a third of the members on the advisory panel should be women, the draft says.

The ministry has sought response from various stakeholders on the proposals listed in the draft before introducing a bill in Parliament, official sources said. If the ministry has its way, then the Cinematograph Bill, 2010 could be introduced in the Monsoon session. The amendment is planned to make the Act more contemporary and in line with the changes in world cinema since the earlier law came into force.