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‘Withdraw proposed amendment to Cinematograph Act’

Chennai:  Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M.K. Stalin on Tuesday urged the Centre to withdraw the proposed amendment to the Cinematograph Act 1952.

He also urged the Centre to allow for functional autonomy of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), so that the ‘country remains as a progressive nation, and where creative thinking, that includes art, culture and filmmaking, blossoms without fear or favour’.

In a letter to Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad referring to the Draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Stalin said: “The draft Bill has given rise to serious apprehensions not only in the minds of the film fraternity and film industry but also among all well-meaning sections of the society that cherish freedom of expression.”

Stalin said a vibrant democracy must be provided adequate space for creative thinking and artistic freedom.

“However, the proposed amendment to the Cinematograph Act seeks to restrict it by restoring the revisionary powers of the Union Government that was struck down by the Supreme Court two decades ago,” Stalin said.

He said once a film is certified for public viewing by the CBFC, it falls within the domain of the state governments first and hence, it must be left to the states as the Law and order is a state subject.

“But now, the Union Government, by the proposed Act, tries to go against the spirit of cooperative federalism and transgress the powers of the State Governments and its own Central Board of Film Certification,” he said.

“Incidentally, as a prelude to this amendment, the Film Certification Appellate Board which was functioning as an appellate body against the CBFC was dismantled,” Stalin added.

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