What is Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)?

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What is Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)? Blog Image


The Supreme Court recently refused to entertain a writ petition seeking revocation of the CBFC certification given to the film 'Hamare Baarah'.

About Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)

  • The CBFC, popularly known as the Censor Board, is a statutory body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • It regulates the public exhibition of films in India under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
  • Films can be publicly exhibited in India only after they have been certified by the CBFC.
  • The certification process is in accordance with the Cinematograph Act, 1952, the Cinematograph (certification) Rules, 1983, and the guidelines issued by the Central Government.
  • The CBFC has one chairperson and other members (not less than 12 but not exceeding 25) who are appointed by the Central Government
  • It has its headquarters in Mumbai
    • It has nine regional offices, one each at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Cuttack, and Guwahati. 
    • The regional offices are assisted in the examination of films by Advisory Panels.
    • The members of the panels are nominated by the Central Government by drawing people from different walks of life for a period of two years.
  • Categories of film certification: There are four categories of films based on their content.
    • U (Universal): Viewers of all age groups can view a U-certified film.
    • U/A: Although these movies are universal, children under the age of 12 require adult supervision.
    • A: Only meant for exhibition before adults.
    • S: These are movies for special classes like doctors and farmers.
  • The board shall occasionally conduct seminars of film critics, writers, and people connected with the industry, along with national surveys, to determine the public reaction for making guidelines for certifying the films.

Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024

  • Pursuant to the Cinematograph (Amendment) Act, 2023, the Central Government has notified the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024, in supersession of the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983. 
  • Salient Provisions:
    • Adoption of Online Certification processes.
    • Reduction in timelines for the processing of film certification and adopting complete digital processes for eliminating all transactional time.
    • Movies/feature films to have accessibility features for certification to make it inclusive for disabled persons.
    • 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.
    • Greater representation of women in the CBFC Board and CBFC’s Advisory Panels, where it is stipulated that one-third of the members in the Board shall be women and preferably half shall be women.
    • System for Priority Screening of Films for enhancing transparency and eliminating all discretions.
    • Perpetual Validity of Certificates: Removal of the restriction on the validity of certificates for only 10 years for the perpetual validity of CBFC certificates.
    • 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.

Q1: What is a writ petition?

A writ petition can be termed as a formal written order issued by a judicial authority who possesses the authority to do so. The meaning of the word ‘Writs’ means command in writing in the name of the Court. It is a legal document issued by the court that orders a person or entity to perform a specific act or to cease performing a specific action or deed. In India, writs are issued by the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India and by the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

Source: Supreme Court Declines Plea Challenging CBFC Certification of 'Hamare Baarah'