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Government Introduces Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024

According to the Cinematograph (Amendment) Act, 2023, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, has notified the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024, which supersede the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983. They were completely revamped in order to enhance and modernize the whole process of certifying films for public display.

Background:

The Indian film industry is one of the biggest and most globalised industries in the world producing more than 3,000 films annually in more than 40 languages.

Hon’ble Prime Minister has envisioned that India truly possesses immense potential to become the content hub of the world with rich heritage and cultural diversity being India’s strengths.

Hon’ble Minister for Information and Broadcasting carrying forward the vision Hon’ble PM, also recognised the Indian Cinema being a significant contributor to India’s soft power, promoting Indian culture, society, and values globally. The empowerment of Indian Film Industry with Transparency, Ease of Doing Business and its protection from the menace of Privacy, would go a long way in growth of content creation ecosystem in India, and would also help safeguard the interests of all artists and artisans working in the film sector. With this vision the historic amendment of the Cinematograph Act was brought in after 40 years in 2023 and now being fully empowered with the overhauled Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024.

Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024:

These new rules aim to streamline and modernize the film certification process for the digital age, keeping pace with the emerging technologies and advancement in film sector. Ministry & CBFC have undertaken extensive consultations with filmmakers, cinema owners, disability rights organizations, NGOs, film industry bodies, general public and other stakeholders, ensuring an all embracing, all-encompassing and all-inclusive approach, as has been the oft repeated motto of our Hon’ble Prime Minister reflected in his words “sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas & sabka prayas”.

The key aspects of improvements incorporated in the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024 include:

  • Comprehensive revision of the Rules has been done to fully align it with the adoption of Online Certification processes, which will ensure enhanced transparency, efficiency & ease of doing business for the film industry.
  • Reduction in time-lines for the processing of film certification and adopting complete digital processes for eliminating all transactional time.
  • Movies/feature films to have accessibility features for certification to make it inclusive for disabled persons, as stipulated in the guidelines issued in this regard from time to time.
  • Age-Based Certification: Introduction of age based categories of certification by further sub-dividing the existing UA category into three age-based categories, viz. seven years (UA 7+), thirteen years (UA 13+), and sixteen years (UA 16+), instead of twelve years. These age based markers would be only recommendatory, meant for the parents or guardians to consider whether their children should view such a film. The age-based certification system with UA markers to be implemented to ensure young viewers are exposed to age-appropriate content. It will play a crucial role in balancing the need to protect vulnerable audiences, such as children, with the principles of freedom of expression and consumer choice.
  • Greater representation of women in the CBFC Board & CBFC’s Advisory Panels, where it is stipulated that one-third of the members in the Board shall be women and preferably half shall be women.
  • System for Priority Screening of Films for enhancing transparency and eliminating all discretions. Provision for priority screening for expediting the screening of film screening for certification, in case of any urgency felt by film-maker(s) due to their prior commitments of release of the film in line with ease of doing business.  
  • Perpetual Validity of Certificates: Removal of the restriction on validity of certificate for only 10 years for perpetual validity of certificates of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
  • Change of Category of Film for Television: Recertification of the edited film for Television broadcast, as only Unrestricted Public Exhibition category films can be shown on television.

The principle rules were first notified by the Government in 1983 and have been amended from time to time. However, acknowledging the significant advancement in film technology, audience demographics, content distribution methods for last 40 years, the new set of rules with overhaul changes are being introduced to better cater to the ever evolving need of our film industry.

The Government had last year amended the Cinematograph Act, 1952 after a period of almost 40 years to comprehensively address the issues relating to film certification. Notifying the new Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024 compliments that journey of making the certification process simpler, more contemporary and in line with best global practices.

These updated regulations will foster a more efficient, transparent, and inclusive film certification process, supporting the continued growth and success of Indian cinema.

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(Source: PIB)

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