Film Censor Board’s new rating system
The draft Cinematograph Bill, 2010, which will be moved by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in the next session of Parliament, will add more age-specific categories of certification of films, in line with international norms.
The Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC), usually referred to as the Censor Board, will now be asked to certify films under the U, 12+, 15+, A and S categories. This translates to films meant for unrestricted viewing (U), those unsuitable for children below 12 years (12+), those unsuitable for children below 15 years (15+), and those meant only for adults, or people above 18 years (A). The S rating is for films restricted to certain professions or classes.
Under the current Cinematograph Act, 1952, there are three categories — U, A and UA, the last of which calls for parental discretion and guidance on whether the film is suitable for children under 12 years.
The new draft Bill also acknowledges the importance of women’s perspectives on the films to be released and mandates that one-third of the members of the CBFC, as well as the regional advisory boards, must be women.
If the applicant for certification is the producer of the film, the certificate will be deemed to be evidence that he owns the copyright of the film, according to the draft Bill. It also stipulates that the Board must disclose the reasons for its decisions either to refuse certification or to restrict the film under any of the categories except the U rating.
The draft Bill also aims at dealing with the issue of piracy by introducing penalties for those who make duplicate prints or issue unauthorised copies or negatives. The punishment ranges from a fine between Rs.5 lakh and Rs.25 lakh and imprisonment from one to three years.
At present, the Cinematograph Act, 1952, governs the censorship of films. The Cinematograph (Certification) Rules promulgated in 1983 and the guidelines issued on December 6, 1991. The guidelines are issued under Section 5B of the 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:
• anti social activities such as violence are not glorified or justified;
• the modus operandi of criminals, other visuals or words likely to incite thecommission 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;
• showing abuse or ridicule of physically and mentally handicapped persons;
• showing cruelty to, or abuse of animals, are 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
• scenes tending to encourage, justify or glamorise drug addiction are not
• 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
• 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 ifany such incidence is germane 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 ofindividuals, or contempt of court are not presented.