Home Legal Advice Film Certification: Legal intricacies Behind the Scenes

Film Certification: Legal intricacies Behind the Scenes



Media and Entertainment holds nice significance in our nation India. Much of the leisure time is spent on both binge-watching or going via your outdated motion pictures assortment. When we speak concerning the enjoyment business within the 21st century, it has grown tremendously since 1913, when the primary movement image of India Rajaharishchandra was let go. It was the start of a fantastic and flourishing business when it comes to viewership and expertise developments. But as this business higher level, alongside got here the authorized intricacies and circumstances which needed to be fulfilled. Before movies make it to releases and massive screens, they need to via the certification course of and all of the authorized necessities for a movie’s launch need to be complied with.

One of the authorized compliances is that of a Film Certification.

What is the Film Certification?

Film Certification signifies that a movie earlier than it reaches its acceptable viewers has to undergo a scanner i.e., it must be licensed by a board of members who’re knowledgeable within the required fields, after which solely a sure movie may be let go so long as it complies with the authorized necessities.

Need for Film Certification

 The want for movie certification in India must be valued and critically analyzed over the interval. A radical authorized process ought to be adopted earlier than something may be represented by most of the people/viewers. The movie certification, nonetheless, mustn’t curtail the inventive freedom of the filmmakers/artists but in addition mustn’t violate the emotions of the general public.

Censorship of the movies have typically come under the radar of freedom of inventive expression, a proper which is under guarantee under Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution. However the Supreme Court within the case of Ok.A. Abbas v. Union of India had opined on the significance and affect of movies which they could have on the viewers, it mentioned “films have to be treated separately from other forms of art and expression because a motion picture can stir up emotions more deeply than any other product of art. A film can therefore be censored on the grounds mentioned in Article 19(2).” Article 19(2) gives for affordable restrictions.

Indian Laws on Film Certification

The movie certification and subsequent guidelines are India is ruled by the Indian Cinematograph Act, 1952.

Section 3(1) of the Act gives for the availability of establishing the Censor Board, which shall be issuing the movie certifications. The board is named the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) which is at present headed by Mr. Prasoon Joshi.

Section 5 of the Act gives for the Advisory Panels to be arrange on the regional ranges in order to help the Board in making choices concerning the certification of movies.

Section 5A of the Act right here offers primarily with the certification of the movies and under numerous classes, the movies will fall.

It gives for Four extensive classes that are as follows:

S.5A(1)(a) gives for

1. U Certificate

This is supplied when the Board deems it match {that a} sure fil is eligible for “unrestricted public exhibition”. It signifies that individuals of any age can watch this specific movie.

2. UA Certificate

UA means “Unrestricted Public Exhibition but with a word of caution that discretion required for children below 12 years.” If the board deems it match {that a} specific movie is eligible for unrestricted public distribution however for kids aged under 12 years, parental recommendation is required.

S.5A(1)(b) gives for

3. A Certificate

This cert is supplied when a selected movie just isn’t meant for the unrestricted public however is appropriate for adults. Adults, for this Act, have been outlined as “a person who has completed his eighteenth year”.

4. S Certificate

This cert gives that the movie is “restricted to any special class of persons” and never for unrestricted public exhibition.

The above was the broad classes into which movies may be licensed and thus offering a wider lens of freedom of expression and altering trendy occasions on the subject of public morality and sanctity.

Procedure for utility for Film Certification

Rule 21 of the Cinematograph Rules, 1984 lays down the process for applying for the movie certification earlier than the Board. The following are the steps to keep track of whereas applying for certification:

1. Application shall be addressed to the Board in writing in Form I or Form I-A, Form II or Form II-A, and delivered to the regional officer.

2. Application ought to be accompanied by charges, as prescribed under the Rule 36, which states necessities as per the movie’s credentials.

3. Rule Three specifies the mandatory paperwork (together with the charges) which shall accompany the letter:

 Eight copies for an Indian function movie, and 5 copies in case of different movies

a.     of synopsis of the movie

b.     credit score titles

c.     full textual content/lyrics of the songs, if any

d.     a duplicate of the whole shooting script of the movie

e.     a press release displaying the reel smart size of the movie

Other paperwork might embody, Title Registration Letter from the involved authority wherein the title was registered. Publicity clearance the cert shall even be supplied with wherever relevant.

In the case of Imported Films, an authentic/licensed copy of the import license together with customs clearance papers and permits are required.

Rule 22 gives for the inspecting committee which shall look at the movies, to be saw for the general public exhibition or not.

1.     Examining committee consisting of a member of the advisory panel, inspecting officer, of 1 ought to be a girl, in case of a brief movie;

In case of an extended movie, the inspecting committee shall consist of 4 members of the advisory panel, an inspecting officer, of two of them ought to be a girl officer.

2.     The applicant or their representatives are usually not current within the preview theatre.

3.     All previews of the movie and names of the board members are treated confidentially.

4.     The inspecting committee examines the movie as per the rules supplied by the federal government and necessities under the S.5(B) of the Act.

5.     Thereafter the members of the committee are required to specific their opinions and causes for giving a selected cert (“U”, “U/A, “A”, and “S”) in writing in Form VIII specified within the Second Schedule.

6.     The committee might choose on not giving the movie a cert, or if sure parts of the movie have to be excised/modified.

7.     The inspecting officer after inspecting the strategies of the committee ship the identical to the chairman.


S.5B Principles for steering in certifying movies

gives for the rules that have to be adopted whereas granting the movie certification. The rules concern such that they need to not be opposite to the general public morality or any such incident which can incite offense opposite to the provisions of the Law.

However, this Act gives equal illustration to the events applying for movie certification. If they aren’t happy with the choice, they will approach the tribunal with an appeal to the choice under S.5C of the Act.


 Film Certification on OTT (Over- the- Top) platforms

Not a few years in the past, nearly all of individuals’s supply of enjoyment was once Cinemas, tv, or reminiscing outdated songs on cassette recorders. But with the altering sense of enjoyment and way of life decisions of the individuals amidst the hustle-bustle of a daily-life, OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime got here to the rescue of individuals. Especially through the pandemic COVID-19, these platforms have witnessed a surge of their viewership.

However, until now there have been no concrete guidelines or provisions associated with the movies let go on such platforms, and thus there was no censorship on the identical. But lately in an official notification within the Gazette of India, govt. of India introduced the OTT and different digital platforms under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in India. This transfer was not welcomed by the movie fraternity they usually criticized the choice citing that it might hamper inventive freedom. In an in depth analysis paper, authored by Shekhar Kapur, FTII chairman, Akshat Agarwal, lawyer and different consultants on the topic, they argued concerning the inventive freedom on the OTT platforms and that how with the assistance of technological developments, it’s now attainable to create content material in line with the target market and that they’re enough measures accessible for people-friendly content material. They substantiated that such platforms are user-controlled and that there are potentialities for thus many industries to thrive on this enterprise. Therefore, there should be inventive freedom as we move twenty years on this 21st century.


The above article and opinions have tried to ascertain that earlier than a sure factor/product reaches to the general public, has to undergo plenty of phases, one in all which is authorized compliance which is essential to safeguard the general public sanctity and nation’s integrity. However, as much because the authorized process is essential, the purpose also needs to, be to safe the liberty of expression of the artists. Therefore censorship v. freedom of expression debate ought to at all times make sure that there should be an affordable stability between the 2, to guard the rights of all, and guarantee our obligation in direction of the nation.




1.     The Cinematograph Act, 1952 and Rules | Ministry of Information and Broadcasting | Government of India (mib.gov.in)

3.     Embracing Nonlinearity: The Future of India’s Entertainment Industry — Esya Centre

4.     Certification (cbfcindia.gov.in)

5.     Central Board of Film Certification | Ministry of Information and Broadcasting | Government of India (mib.gov.in)


19. Protection of sure rights concerning freedom of speech and many others

(1) All residents shall have the fitting

(a) to freedom of speech and expression;



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