On 18 June 2021, the central government sought public comments on the draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021, which proposed to give the central government powers to ‘re-examine’ films already cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification, and to reverse the original decision of the board. Other amendments included introducing age-based certification and measures against film piracy.
In April 2021, the central government abolished the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal. The FCAT was a statutory body that came into existence in 1983 to provide an avenue for redressal for filmmakers unhappy with decisions made by the censor board. Several prominent figures in the film industry expressed their consternation.
On 2 July, around 6,500 signatories from the Hindi, Tamil, Malayalm, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu and Assamese film industries, artists, theatre and collectives wrote to the ministry of information and broadcasting with suggestions towards the amendment of the Cinematograph Act. The signatories also urged the ministry to extend the deadline for discussions from the earlier date of 2 July to 18 July to facilitate further consultations on the proposed amendments. The statement is reproduced below.
Public Comments to the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021