Topic: Sec 5A. Certification of Films

[(1) If, after examining a film or having it examined in the prescribed manner, the Board considers that—

(a) the film is suitable for unrestricted public exhibition, or, as the case may be, for unrestricted public exhibition with an endorsement of the nature mentioned in the proviso to clause (i) of sub-section (1) of section 4, it shall grant to the person applying for a certificate in respect of the film a “U” certificate or, as the case may be, a “UA” certificate; or

(b) the film is not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition, but is suitable for public exhibition restricted to adults or, as the case may be, is suitable for public exhibition restricted to members of any profession or any class of persons, it shall grant to the person applying for a certificate in respect of the film an “A” certificate or, as the case may be, a “S” certificate.

and cause the film to be so marked in the prescribed manner:

Provided that the applicant for the certificate, any distributor or exhibitor or any other person to whom the rights in the film have passed shall not be liable for punishment under any law relating to obscenity in respect of any matter contained in the film for which certificate has been granted under clause (a) or clause (b).]

(2) A certificate granted or an order refusing to grant a certificate in respect of any film shall be published in the Gazette of India.

(3) Subject to the other provisions contained in this Act, a certificate granted by the Board under this section shall be valid throughout India for a period of ten years.]

COMMENTS

(i) Mere grant of certification to other films, which have more or similar obscene or pornographic scenes could not automatically entitle a producer of film to a certification under section 5A; Ms. A. Arulmozhi v. Government of India, AIR 2006 Mad 49.

(ii) The particular film must conform to the requirements of law so as to be entitled to a certification. It is irrelevant if other films granted certification have more or similar obscene or pornographic scenes or events. The producer of such film is not entitled to avail the protection under Article 14 of the Constitution of India; B.K. Adarsh v. Union of India, AIR 1990 AP 100.

(iii) Contemporary and moral standards as well as the effect on viewer, especially young and adolescent are the relevant factors, in determination of obscenity for the purposes of this Act; B.K. Adarsh v. Union of India, AIR 1990 AP 100.

(iv) A film has to cater to the tastes of different kinds of people and thus, different topics are covered, before the film ends. Therefore, the ultimate reaction when the film ends and whether it offends any strata of the society are the two crucial factors considered in determination of certification thereof; P.Jagajeevan Ram v. Government of India, AIR 1989 Mad 149.

(v) Where in a film, there were repeated assertions of the heroine whose father procured a false caste certificate for her to gain advantages of reservation and of her father to the effect that Constitution of India led both of them to cheat and impersonate and advocates framers of reservation policy should be punished, instead of punishing the father-daughter duo, the main thrust was to project to the public at large that the reservation policy itself was retrograde making it framers punishable. It certainly, amounted to contravention of the provisions of this Act as it was a grave provocation to gullible and rural masses to take law in their hands and punish the framers of the Constitution; P. Jagajeevan Ram v. Government of India, AIR 1989 Mad, 149.

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1. Section 3, 4, 5, 5A, 5B, 5C and 6 subs. by Act 3 of 1959, sec. 4, for sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 (w.e.f. 12-3-1959).

2. Subs. by Act 49 of 1981, sec. 5, for sub-section (1) (w.e.f. 1-6-1983)