Newdelhi:31/7/23:The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was passed by the Parliament today after getting the nod from the Lok Sabha. The Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 20th July, 2023 and passed after discussion on 27th July, 2023. The historic bill was passed by the Parliament amending the Cinematograph Act after 40 years as the last significant amendments in the Cinematograph Act, 1952 were made in the year 1984. The landmark bill aims to comprehensively curb the menace of ‘Piracy’ causing losses of Rs 20,000 Crores to the film industry, based on certain estimates. The provisions include strict punishment of minimum 3 months imprisonment and fine of Rs. 3 lakhs which can be extended up to 3 years imprisonment and fine upto 5% of the audited gross production cost.
Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has envisioned that India truly possesses immense potential to become the content hub of the world with rich heritage and cultural diversity being India’s strengths. The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, carrying forward the vision of the Prime Minister, also recognised the Indian Cinema being a significant contributor to India’s soft power, promoting Indian culture, society, and values globally. He said “the empowerment of Indian Film Industry with Ease of Doing Business and its protection from the menace of Privacy, would go a long way in growth of content creation ecosystem in India, and would help safeguard the interests of all artists and artisans working in the sector”.
Talking about the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023 when it was taken up for consideration and passing in Lok Sabha today, the Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur said, “India is known as a country of story tellers which shows our rich culture, heritage, legacy and diversity. In the next 3 years our film industry will grow to 100 billion dollars, providing employment to lakhs of people. Keeping the needs of the changing time, we have brought this bill to fight piracy and to further promote the film industry. These amendments will comprehensively curb the menace of ‘piracy’ which is causing losses of Rs. 20,000 crores to the film industry”
Shri Thakur further said, “The government has done away with the requirement to renew film’s license every 10 years and has made it valid for lifetime. Now, there is no need to run around the government offices seeking renewal. Keeping up with the judgement of K.M Shankarappa Vs Union of India case judgement, the government has kept it away from the revision power and now the autonomous body of CBFC will have the full authority to look after it”.
First, the Bill attempts to address the issue of unauthorised recording and exhibition of films and curb the menace of film piracy by transmission of unauthorized copies on the internet.
Second, the Bill attempts to improve the procedure for certification of films for public exhibition by the Central Board of Film Certification, as well as improve categorisations of the certifications of the films.
Third, the Bill attempts to harmonise the law with extant executive orders, Supreme Court judgements, and other relevant legislations.
a) Provisions to Check Unauthorised Recording and Exhibition of Films Amounting to Piracy: To check film piracy by way of cam-cording in the theatres; and most importantly also prohibit any unauthorized copying and online transmission & exhibition of a pirated copy of any film, strict penal provisions have been incorporated.
b) Age-Based Certification: Introduction of age-based categories of certification by further sub-dividing the existing UA category into three age-based categories, viz. seven years (UA 7+), thirteen years (UA 13+), and sixteen years (UA 16+), instead of twelve years. These age-based markers would be only recommendatory, meant for the parents or guardians to consider whether their children should view such a film.
c) Aligning with the Supreme Court Judgements: Omission of Revisional Powers of Central Government as per judgment of Supreme Court in the case of K.M. Shankarappa vs Union of India (2000).
d) Perpetual Validity of Certificates: Removal of the restriction in the Act on validity of certificate for only 10 years for perpetual validity of certificates of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
e) Change of Category of Film for Television: Recertification of the edited film for Television broadcast, as only Unrestricted Public Exhibition category films can be shown on television.
f) Reference to Jammu and Kashmir: Omission of references to the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir in line with the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.
The Indian film industry is one of the biggest and most globalised industries in the world producing more than 3,000 films annually in more than 40 languages. The medium of cinema, the tools and the technology associated with it have undergone vital changes over this period of time. The menace of piracy has also grown manifold, with the advent of internet and social media. The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was passed by the Parliament today will go a long way in curbing the menace of piracy and also empowerment of Indian Film Industry with Ease of Doing Business.