Do you agree with the view that role of the Central Board of Film Certification should be limited to certification and not to censorship? Give arguments.

Published: August 29, 2017

Central board of film certification is a statutory body under the Cinematograph Act, 1952. It is a content certifying body. In India, films can be publicly exhibited only after certification from Board. As per the Section 5B(I) of the Cinematograph Act, a film shall not be certified if any part of it is against the security of the state, sovereignty, and integrity of India, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or involves defamation or contempt of court or is likely to incite commission of any offence. These provisions are also part of guidelines issued in 1991, which also authorize the CBFC to suggest cuts in a film.
Major controversy regarding the institution is its role as censor board. As per act scope should be limited to certification and it should not involve in censorship. Shyam Benegal Committee on Cinematograph Act recommended that the present guidelines, which empower the CBFC to effect cuts in films, should be re-drafted. CBFC should not act as a “moral compass”. CBFC’s categorization should be a kind of a statutory warning for audiences for what to expect if they were to watch a particular film. Committee also suggested that the categorization of films need to be changed too with the addition of an Adult with Caution (A-C) category for films which may contain explicit content.
Creative freedom of film-makers & Artistic expression should be protected. The parameters for certification must be objective rather than moral policing. The CBFC should only specify the category of audiences that are deemed fit to watch a film.

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