In India, the Censorship in presenting a movie is fully justified under the Constitution and it is done for the benefit of the society. The Cinematograph Act is a Central legislation that came in to force on July 28, 1952 which provides for the establishment of competent authorities to censor movies and prevent the exhibition of films that are against the culture of our society. The Act extends to the entire Indian Territory but certain provisions shall cover the State of Jammu and Kashmir only after the amendment of the Act in 1973.
The Central Government shall establish the Board of Film Certification to grant permission for films to be presented in public. The Board shall consist of a chairman and minimum of 12 members and maximum of 25 members. The person who intends to present any film shall submit an application before the board to obtain certificate and the board shall after verification permit the film to be exhibited publicly without any restrictions. But where the Board is of the view that a child below twelve years shall be permitted to watch the film only on consideration of the parents, then the certificate shall contain an endorsement for that reason.
The Board shall restrict the presentation of the film only to adults, members of any profession or group of persons. The applicant shall make necessary modifications in the film, where the Board demands so, to obtain permission for presentation. A film may be refused for exhibition by the Board for certain prescribed reasons.
The Act empowers the Central Government to constitute advisory panels for each regional center consisting of qualified persons appointed by the Government. The Board shall examine the film and make recommendations and suggestions to the Board if necessary. The certificate for exhibiting the film shall not be granted where the film is in opposition to the safety of sovereignty and nobility of India, security of the nation, friendly relation with other countries, public order, defamation etc. The aggrieved person from the order of the Board shall prefer an appeal to the Tribunal within thirty days beginning from the date of order.
The Central government is authorized under the Act to establish an Appellate Tribunal to hear appeals which shall consist of a Chairman and four other members. The person who provides the certified film to the distributor shall inform he distributor regarding the title, length of the movie, register number and character of the certificate and also include any stipulations under which it is provided and other information which are prescribed.
The presentation of an uncertified film to the pubic by any person, failure of a person to make prescribed changes in the film, illegal modifications in the film after certification or refusal to abide by provisions of the Act shall be penalized in the manner prescribed under the Act. The Central Government is authorized under the Act to formulate rules to put into operation the provisions of the Act. Moreover, the Central Government shall exempt any film from the purview of this Act under certain stipulations and limitations.
The Act prohibits the presentation of a film through cinematograph other than in a place where license is granted or according to the conditions provided under the license. The District Magistrate shall have power under the Act to provide license to the persons to present films by cinematograph. But license shall be granted by the authority consistent to the provisions of the Act and the rules made there under. The license obtained by a person shall be cancelled if such person is found to be convicted for an offence.
The cinematograph Act, 1918 was repealed by the present legislation. The Cinematograph Act, 1952 was amended by the Cinematograph (Amendment) Act, 1973 which made slight modifications to the Act for the purpose of standardizing the law relating to film and censorship.