The Central Board of Film Certification whose headquarters are located in
Mumbai with nine regional office locations is the body responsible for
certifying films and certifying their authenticity. A film is defined as a
story or event captured in moving pictures and displayed on television or in a
Since millions of films related to the motion picture industry are released
throughout the year, the government also launched The Cinematograph Act, 1952
The current chairman is Prasoon Joshi. In addition to the various storylines and
topics in a film, the panel reviews these to ensure that no footage or scene is
shown that the panel deems inappropriate. Once the necessary changes have been
made, the filmmakers receive the certificate and can approve the film.
The contents of this certificate are:
- The name of movie
- The duration of movie
- Names of authorising members
- Type of print of movie
- The name of applicant and producer
- Movies with UA certificate- It means anyone can watch this movie.
- Movies with U certificate –Means those children below age of 12 should
watch it under guidance of parents.
- Movies with A certificate- film should be watched by person of age 18 or
- Movies with S certificate- only some special section of society should
be allowed to watch the film.
The certification of movies is held to be as compulsory by the SC in 1989 as it
believed that cinematographic media has a very long-lasting impact on the mind
and emotions of the audience as compared to printed media or other forms of
entertainment. Hence the board decides the scenes which should be deleted or
modified from the film before releasing it. As immoral or derogatory scenes may
have a bad effect on the min of children.
The guidelines are based on section 5B of the Act, which states that a film
does not need to be certified for public screening if, in the opinion of the
certification authority, the film or a portion of that film is contrary to the
interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the
nations, friendly relations with foreign nations, public order, etiquette or
morals, or involves defaming or disparaging the court, or is likely to incite a
police station. "
Guidelines for certification of film:
- Violence and other antisocial actions are not celebrated or condoned.
- Criminals' methods of operation, as well as any images or phrases that
might inspire the commission of any crime, are not shown.
- Portraying children as victims, perpetrators, or forced witnesses to
violence, or showing children as victims or perpetrators of any type of
child abuse should not be a part of movie.
- Any scene depicting physical and mental disabled people being abused or
- Animal cruelty or abuses are not shown in an unnecessary way. I.e. why
it is written no animals were harmed during shooting
- Unnecessary or avoidable acts of violence, cruelty, and terror should
not be displayed, violent situations are intended primarily for
entertainment, and scenes may desensitize or dehumanize the audience. with
- Scenes that appear to excuse or celebrate drinking are not allowed to be
displayed ( remember the caution drinking is injurious to health)
- Scenes depicting sexual perversions should be avoided, and if they must
be displayed, they should be kept to a minimum and no specifics should be
- India's sovereignty and integrity should be unquestionably secure.
- There are no sequences that degrade or denigrate women in any way.
- Situations of sexual violence against women, such as attempted rape,
rape, or any kind of molestation, or scenes of a similar type, are avoided,
and if they are pertinent to the topic, they are kept to a minimum and no
details are portrayed.
After a movie matches these criteria than it can be released but only after the
scrutinizing by the board but if it is still considered not suitable for non
adults it should be given A certificate.
Procedure for film certification
The Cinematograph Act, 1952
has laid a special procedure for issuing of film
certification. A producer should go through the steps mentioned in the procedure
to his film certified and pay fee and submit some documents to get his movie
The steps are as follows:
Let's Discuss Some Cases Related To The Topic
Shri Anand Patwardhan vs The Central Board Of Film
- The film or video film, as well as any other materials listed in rule
2.1, must be sent to the regional officer of the regional centre in
question. The regional officer will create an Examining Committee to watch
the film after all of the film materials, fees, and written documentation
required by the regulations have been received. In the event of a short
film, this Examining Committee will consist of a CBFC officer and one advisory panel member, one of
whom must be a woman, and in the case of a long film / feature film, four of the
two members must be women. Following the screening, the CBFC must guarantee that
each member submits a written report detailing his recommendations for deletions
and/or alterations, as well as the certificate the film should receive. After
that, the report is delivered to the Chairperson, who would instruct the
regional officer to start the next steps.
- However, if the Chairperson so desires, she may send the film to the
Revising Committee under Rule 24 on his or her own motion or at the request
of the applicant. The Revising Committee will be made up of the Chairperson,
a board member in his absence, and no more than nine members selected from
the CBFC or
the advisory panel, provided that none of them previously served on the
Examining Committee. The Revising Committee will see the identical film print
that the Examining Committee saw with no alterations, and each member will be
obliged to register his or her judgement before exiting the theatre. If the
Chairperson does not agree with the majority opinion, she may request that the
film be seen by another Revising Committee. The Revising Committee shall have a
quorum of five members, at least two of whom must be women: Provided, however,
that the number of women members shall not be fewer than one-half of the total
members of a committee formed under this regulation (2).
- Following the applicant's receipt of the Board's decision, he shall
remove any sections (as ordered) and send them to the regional officer,
along with one certified copy of the video. Before the Board issues any
order that may be detrimental to the applicant of a film, he is given the
chance to submit his case before the EC/RC.
- If the issue is appealed to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT),
which is chaired by a retired judge and consists of no more than four additional
members, the FCAT may hear both the applicant and the CBFC before reaching a
- Anand Patwardhan's documentary War and Peace (which depicted nuclear weapons
testing and the September 11 attacks) was altered 21 times before being approved
for broadcast in 2002. "The cuts [the Board] wanted are so ridiculous that they
won't stand up in court," Patwardhan adds. However, if these amendments are
enforced, India's media freedom would be lost. A judge ruled that the edit
requirement was unconstitutional, and the film was broadcast uncut.
- Vijay Anand, an Indian director and the chair of the CBFC, advocated
legalising the screening of X-rated films in select theatres that year. "Porn is
exhibited clandestinely everywhere in India... and the only way to counter this
flood of blue movies is to show them publicly in theatres with legally allowed
permits," Anand added. In the aftermath of his suggestion, Anand resigned less
than a year after becoming chairwoman.
- Phantom Films Pvt. Ltd. And Anr vs The Central Borad Of Cetification
Anurag Kashyap and Ekta Kapoor's film Udta Punjab (2016) delivered a rundown of
9 cuts and 13 focuses (counting the request to eliminate the names of towns from
Punjab). Bombay High Court approved conveyance of the film with a montage and
cautioning. A duplicate of the film was released on the web and there is proof
that the CBFC was involved. Kashyap said on Facebook that while he wouldn't fret
the free download, he trusts individuals will pay for the film.
Nihalani said in an August 2017 meeting, only days subsequent to venturing down
as CBFC president, that he got a request from the Ministry of Information and
Broadcasting to stop the dissemination of this film and of somewhere around
Hence we can understand the importance of getting the films certified and the
essence of THE CINEMATOGRAPH ACT, 1952. As cinemas and modes of entertainment
are being opened to a large number of people in our society it is necessary that
film doesn't have a theme that has a wrong influence on the mind of audience.
- Writ Petition No.229 Of 2003
- Writ Petition (L) No. 1529 Of 2016
Censorship of Films
Media Laws: An Overview
Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021
Copyright Certificate, Issued by Govt of India
The Role of Central Board of Film Certification
Banning Films or Article 19(1)(A) - Film laws in India
Censorship Case: S. Rangarajan Vs. P. Jagjivan Ram
Copyright of Cinematograph Films and Sound Recording
The Cinematograph Act, 1952: The Guardian of Victorian Morality and Decency