Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) is a regulatory body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. Central Board of Film Certification is popularly called as Censor Board. The Censor Board of India basically censors and reviews movies, television programmes, television advertisements or any sort of promotional materials. All films meant for public exhibition, irrespective of their length, whether in cinema halls or video or CD or DVD version are subjected to censorship. Censorship of movies is considered as necessary as a movie might motivate thought process of the audiences. A film reflects various ideas and the same has a strong impact on the minds of the viewers and can affect emotions. Thus, it is a true fact that a movie has enough potential for good as it has for evil. It is also said to have an equal capability for encouraging good behaviour or violence. Thus, censorship is not only desirable but also necessary.
The Central Board of Film Certification has its headquarters at Mumbai
, and it has nine other regional centres in several cities of the country like Bengaluru
, and Thiruvananthapuram
. The organisational structure of the CBFC is based on the provisions of the 1952 Act and the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules 1983. A Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) has also been formed under section 5D of the 1952 Act for hearing appeals against any order of the Central Board of Film Certification. While the work of certification of films is a central subject, the states have to put in force these censorship provisions and bring any violations to the notice of the Censor Board.
The Chairman and other members of the Censor Board are appointed for a term of three years or till such time as the direction given by the government. Central Board of Film Certification comprises a Chairperson and around 25 members. They are appointed by the Government of India
. All the appointed members are eminent personalities from different spheres like education, art, film, social sciences, law, and more. They represent a cross section of the society. An Advisory Panel assists the Central Board of Film Certification in its various regional offices headed by Regional Officers. The members of these regional advisory panels also represent a cross-section of the social interests. These members are generally selected for two years or they hold office till such time as directed by the Central Government. However, the members can be re-appointed.
Central Board of Film Certification has divided itself into `Examining and Revising Committees` to provide a two-tier system for certification of films in the event of the applicant or the Chairman himself not being satisfied with the decision of the Examining Committee. The certification rules of this board are also applicable to foreign films that are imported into India, or any dubbed films, and video films. However, in cases of dubbed films, the Censor Board does not have any fresh censorship for the visuals in general cases. Moreover, the films which are made specifically for Doordarshan, the certification of the Censor Board is not applicable, since Doordarshan has its own system of examining films.
The Cinematograph Act, 1952, presides over the censorship of films. The Cinematograph (Certification) Rules were promulgated in the year 1983. The guidelines were issued on December 6, 1991 under Section 5B of the Cinematograph Act. According to this section, "a film shall not be certified for public exhibition, if, in the opinion of the authority competent to grant the certificate, the film or any part of it is against the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the States, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or involves defamation or contempt of court or is likely to incite the commission of any offence".
Detailed Guidelines for Certification of Films are as follows -
Anti social activities such as violence are not glorified or justified;
the modus operandi of criminals, other visuals or words likely to incite the commission of any offence are not depicted;
scenes showing involvement of children in violence as victims or perpetrators or as forced witnesses to violence, or showing children as being subjected to any form of child abuse are not presented
Showing abuse or ridicule of physically and mentally handicapped persons; and showing cruelty to, or abuse of animals, is not presented needlessly.
pointless or avoidable scenes of violence, cruelty and horror, scenes of violence primarily intended to provide entertainment and such scenes as may have the effect of de-sensitising or de-humanising people are not shown;
scenes which have the effect of justifying or glorifying drinking are not shown;
scenes tending to encourage, justify or glamorise drug addiction are not shown;
scenes tending to encourage, justify or glamorise consumption of tobacco or smoking are not shown;
human sensibilities are not offended by vulgarity, obscenity or depravity;
such dual meaning words as obviously cater to baser instincts are not allowed;
scenes degrading or denigrating women in any manner are not presented;
scenes involving sexual violence against women like attempt to rape, rape or any form of molestation or scenes of a similar nature are avoided, and if any such incidence is relevant to the theme, they shall be reduced to the minimum and no details are shown;
scenes showing sexual perversions shall be avoided and if such matters are germane to the theme they shall be reduced to the minimum and no details are shown;
visuals or words contemptuous of racial, religious or other groups are not presented;
visuals or words which promote communal, obscurantist, anti-scientific and anti-national attitude are not presented;
the sovereignty and integrity of India is not called in question;
the security of the State is not jeopardized or endangered;
friendly relations with foreign States are not strained;
public order is not endangered and;
Visuals or words involving defamation of an individual or a body of individuals, or contempt of court are not presented.