The Centre’s move to dilute the existing powers of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) or Censor Board through the draft Cinematograph Bill has triggered a lot of commotion in the film industry. One of the main issues is that the bill gives the Centre powers to review any certification given by the Board to a film and ban it if it found that the film violated norms.
Interestingly, in 2000, the Supreme Court had upheld the Karnataka High Court judgement in KM Shankarappa vs Union of India that held that the Centre has no power to call for a revision of certification given to a film which was already reviewed and certified by the CBFC. So, the bill effectively goes against the SC order.
On the other hand, the bill is against the federalist structure of the country, according to Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, who said that certification of films must be left to the states as law and order is a state subject.
He also recalled that the Centre had abolished the appellate board of film certification, where one could raise issues if they were not satisfied with the Censor Board’s certification, and described it as “a prelude to this amendment” in the bill.
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