Censorship Issues – Censor Board, Banning films, etc

How are films Certified in India?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: CBFC, Film Certification Process

Mains level: Not Much

Central Idea

  • Union Information & Broadcasting Minister has expressed displeasure with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) over its approval of the Hollywood film “Oppenheimer.”
  • The Minister has reportedly asked officials to remove a particular scene from the movie that has generated controversy on social media.

Understanding the CBFC


  • Role: The Central Board of Film Certification is a statutory body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, responsible for regulating the public exhibition of films in India under the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
  • Certification Requirement: Films can be screened in India only after receiving certification from the Board.
  • Composition: The CBFC comprises a Chairperson and members appointed by the Central Government. There are nine Regional Offices with Advisory Panels to assist in the examination of films.

Film Certification Process

  • Examining Committee: After submitting all film materials and requisite fees, a regional officer forms an Examining Committee to view the film. For short films (shorter than 72 minutes), the committee includes a CBFC officer and one advisory panel member, with at least one being a woman. For long films (longer than 72 minutes), at least two committee members must be women.
  • Certification Recommendations: Each committee member provides a written report with their recommendations for modifications and classification of the film.
  • CBFC Decision: The Chairperson reviews the committee’s reports and initiates further procedures based on their recommendations.

Types of Certifications:

  1. Unrestricted Public Exhibition (U)
  2. Parental Guidance for children below age 12 (U/A)
  3. Adult (A)
  4. Viewing by specialized groups (S)

Controversies and Appeals

  • Suggested Changes: CBFC may suggest modifications or excisions in the film before granting certification. Applicants dissatisfied with the certification or suggested changes can apply to the Revising Committee.
  • Revising Committee: The Revising Committee consists of the Chairperson and up to nine members from the board and advisory panel.
  • Appellate Tribunal: If disagreements persist, the Appellate Tribunal, an independent body, can be approached.

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