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There are around 1250 feature films being made in India every year which makes the Indian Film industry one of the largest in the world. Censorship has always been a trending topic when it comes to film production in India moreover after the board has issued a ban on a list of swears words. Filmmakers opposed this decision by the censor board stating that this ban is limiting their creative thinking and freedom of expression. Let us get to know more about CBFC and how does the film certification process takes place in this article.
Importance of CBFC certification:
The Supreme Court of India has passed a judgment in 1989 stating that it is necessary to censor feature films as they motivate the audience with its ability to seek attention and has much more retention power when compared to printed expressions. According to the Supreme Courtjudgment, films have a very high impact on people’s mind and action as they are showcased in dark theaters where all other sources of distractions are eliminated. Therefore films have power to instill good as well as evil or violent behavior in people. Hence censorship becomes necessary for every feature film being released for public.
Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) also known as the Censor Board
What people commonly call the Censor Board is actually the Central Board of Film Certification(CBFC) which is a statutory body coming under the purview of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The main agenda of the CBFC is to regulate the films being exhibited in public. Censor board was set up under the Cinematograph Act 1952 and has its headquarters in Mumbai with nine regional offices at Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Cuttack and Mumbai. The Central Government appoints the board chief and the panel members who have a term of two years at office.
Certification Categories given by CBFC
There are four categories under which films are certified by the CBFC.
- U- Films considered appropriate for unhindered public exhibition.
- UA- Films which enclose segments considered inappropriate for children below the age of twelve, but else appropriate for unhindered public exhibition.
- A-Films considered appropriate for exhibition limited to adults only.
- S- Films limited for exhibition to specific audience such as doctors etc.
The Process for Certification of Films
The Cinematograph Rules clearly state the process to be adhered by a producer to get his film or feature film certified, together with the resources to be submitted along with the fees.
- A written application has to be submitted to the regional officer of the concerned regional center for obtaining certification of a film or short film.
- The regional office will form an examining committee after getting all the material related to the film, written material and prescribed fee. If it is a short film then the committee will consist of CBFC officer and one panel member either of which has to be a woman. For feature films two out of four committee members have to be women.
- Each member of the examining committee has to submit a written report after preview of the film. This report consists of modifications, deletes and category of certificate which should be given. The chairperson of CBFC reviews the report and shall ask the regional officer to carry on further procedures.
- The film can be forward to the revising committee by the chairperson on his own or on request of the film producer. Request for revising committee has to be given not later than 14 days of the decision given by board. Chairperson will be a part of the revising committee or in his absentia; a member from board and members from CBFC or advisory panel will be there. Members of the revising committee can not be the same as that in the examining committee.
- The revising committee will again watch the film without any changes made to it and give it’s feedback in written. The chairperson can call for another revising committee if he/she feels that there is lack of consensus in the feedback of the first revising committee.
- The producer is made aware of the report of the revising/examining committee and he/she has to make necessary changes in the film as highlighted and re submit the new version with the regional office.
- Before the censor board passes any certification to the film, the producer is given a chance to put across his/her views in from of the revising /examining committee.
- If the applicant is not in agreement with the order of the board, an appeal can be made to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal which is under a retired judge as a Chairperson. The appeal has to be made within 30 days of the board’s decision. The FCAT will hear views of the applicant and CBFC before coming to a judgment.
Time limits for the Certification Process
The following time limits for the certification process are prescribed under Rule 41 of the Cinematograph rules.
|Scrutiny of Application||7 days|
|Formation of Examination Committee (EC)||15 days|
|Forwarding the EC report to Chairman||10 days|
|Communication of the order to the applicant||3 days|
|Surrender of cuts by the producer||14 days|
|Examination of cuts||14 days|
|Issue of Certificate||5 days|
|Total Time Limit||68 days|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is CBFC a statutory body?
CBFC is a statutory body under the Ministry of I&B, GOI and this body has rights of censorship and classification of motion pictures being produced in India.
Who is heading the CBFC?
Mr. Prasoon Joshi is the chairman of the CBFC currently.
Are kids allowed to watch U/A movies?
When there is a UA rating to a film, it is as per discretion of the parents to take them to watch the movie or not.
What does U/A stand for?
U/A stand for Under Agreement(Legal).