UPSC GS Notes: Film Certification Appellate Tribunal

The Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) is a statutory body constituted under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting as per Section 5(D) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952. The FCAT hears appeals filed by applicants aggrieved by any order of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). The CBFC is commonly called the Censor Board and it grants certificates to regulate public exhibition of films in India.

The FCAT was established in 1991 and it is headquartered in New Delhi. Generally, an appeal against a CBFC order to the FCAT would be followed by a second reviewing of the film by the Censor Board. An aggrieved person has to file an appeal within 30 days from the date of the CBFC order. An appeal against a decision of the FCAT can be made to the head of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting or through the country’s legal system.

The FCAT is headed by a Chairman who is generally a retired Supreme Court judge. He/she is assisted by other members of the Tribunal.

How does a film get certificates in India?

The certification is given by the CBFC which is situated in nine regional offices in India, Mumbai being the prime regional office. The film has to be applied for clearance at the regional office and then, an examining committee views the film to grant it the relevant clearance. If the applicant is not satisfied with the clearance, he or she can go to the head office of the CBFC which is in Mumbai. If the applicant is not satisfied even with the head office’s order, an appeal can be made to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal at New Delhi.

Film certification in India

Films are certified into four categories in India. They are:

  1. U – unrestricted
  2. UA – unrestricted but with a parental discretion advisory for children under 12 years
  3. A – adult
  4. S – only for a special class of persons

Film certification is frequently in the news because of the tussle between the Censor Board and filmmakers. While filmmakers want absolute freedom while making and exhibiting films to the audience, the Board sees it as its duty to recommend suitable edits and cuts to the films and make it appropriate for viewing for the public.

The FCAT and the CBFC are important bodies in India that are featured in the news often. It is important to understand their functioning and mandates for the IAS exam.

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