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Daily News Analysis


24th June, 2024 Polity


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Picture Courtesy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Board_of_Film_Certification

Context: The Supreme Court has rejected a petition to revoke the certification of the Central Board of Film Certifications for the film "Hamare Baarah".

About Central Board of Film Certifications

  • The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) is a statutory body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, responsible for certifying films for public exhibition in cinemas and on television.
  • Established initially as the Central Board of Film Censors under the Cinematograph Act of 1952, it was later renamed the CBFC in 1983.
  • The board's primary mandate is to ensure that films screened in India adhere to certain guidelines and receive appropriate certifications before public release.
  • The CBFC is headed by a Chairperson and consists of 23 members, all appointed by the central government.
  • The board operates from its headquarters in Mumbai and has regional offices across major cities in India.

Certification Categories

U (Universal)

Films under this category are suitable for unrestricted public exhibition and are family-friendly.

They typically contain themes like education, family, drama, romance, and action.

Mild violence and very mild sexual scenes without nudity are permissible.

These films are considered safe for viewers of all ages.

U/A (Parental Guidance)

Films under U/A can be viewed by all audiences but may contain content that requires parental guidance for children under 12.

They may include moderate violence, moderate sexual scenes (with nudity or sexual detail), frightening scenes, and muted abusive language.

These films are often re-certified with V/U for video viewing.

A (Adults Only)


Films with an A certification are restricted to adult audiences (aged 18 and above).

They can feature strong violence, explicit and strong sexual scenes, explicit abusive language, and certain controversial themes.

Nudity and derogatory portrayals of women or social groups are prohibited.

These films may also be re-certified with V/U and V/UA for TV viewing.

S (Special)

Films with an S certification are restricted to specialised audiences like doctors or scientists.

These films are not intended for public exhibition and have limited accessibility.

Guidelines and Controversies

The CBFC operates under specific guidelines to ensure films promote healthy public entertainment and education while upholding cultural and social sensitivities. Some key guidelines include:

  • Prohibition of scenes that glorify anti-social activities, depict criminal acts or involve cruelty to animals.
  • Restrictions on nudity, obscenity, vulgarity, and derogatory representations of women or social groups.
  • Prohibition of content promoting alcohol consumption, drug addiction, or smoking.
  • Ensuring films do not propagate sectarian, anti-scientific, or anti-national attitudes.

Enforcement and Challenges

Over the years, the CBFC has faced criticism and controversies for its decisions, often leading to legal battles and public debate on freedom of expression versus cultural sensitivities. Some notable controversies include:

  • Cuts and Bans: Instances where films had to undergo multiple cuts or were outright banned due to content deemed provocative or sensitive, such as "Final Solution" and "Lipstick Under My Burkha".
  • Political Interference: Allegations of political influence on certification decisions, leading to resignations and changes in leadership within the board.
  • Technological Challenges: With the rise of digital platforms and online streaming, the CBFC has had to adapt its certification process to encompass new media while maintaining regulatory standards.


  • The Central Board of Film Certification plays a crucial role in regulating the film industry in India, ensuring that films released for public viewing adhere to legal, cultural, and ethical standards. While it aims to strike a balance between artistic freedom and societal norms, its decisions often spark debate on censorship, freedom of expression, and the role of regulatory bodies in a diverse and evolving media landscape.


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