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The Central Board of Film Certification’s website does not have any information about the films it has certified for the last one and a half years. No censorship data for films released after mid-2015 is indexed on the Board’s website. Before then, the Board had been uploading the “cut-list” for films that it had been certifying on its website.

In response to an RTI application filed, the CBFC denied this, and said that “Information is being uploaded on [the] website,” and the fact that this information is not available for titles released after mid-2015 is “not true”. Interestingly, the Board also declined to give the censorship data it is claiming to be uploading, saying that the “data [is] not available”. Right before this story went live, the censor board’s website announced that all data will be uploaded next month, in February.

When Pahlaj Nihalani took office as CBFC chairman in early 2015, he placed an embargo on censor certificates being made available online for two weeks after certification, according to a report by the Hindustan Times. In the same report, which came out on October 2016, he is quoted as saying that the embargo was later lifted, and that all certification data was now being uploaded online immediately.

As of 8th January 2017, no information on titles certified after July 2015 is available on the CBFC website. This is contrary to the CBFC’s response to the RTI application and the chairman’s claim. Just days after the Board replied to the RTI application falsely claiming that information was being uploaded on the website, it seems to have backtracked.

Since March last year, the censor board has been discussing the revamp and redesign of their website going live next month, according to minutes of a meeting published by the Board last year. Other digitisation efforts that they are undertaking include getting encrypted versions of all films they certify to prevent piracy from their end.

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Here are the questions asked the RTI application:

Please provide the following information. Concerned authority is Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
i) Whether a digital database of all certification records exists.
ii) If not, whether CBFC has any plans to create such a database.
iii) Reason for non-availability of any certification records after beginning of 2015 on CBFC website.
iv) Whether there are any plans by CBFC to upload the information of these records on the website.
v) Whether CBFC has any IT officer to manage digital records of CBFC, including certificate details.
vi) Physical location of certificate data on the website–whether it is in NIC server or CBFC server.
vii) Please provide full copy of all available digital certificate records that are available on the website in the form of a CD.
The responses from the CBFC are provided below: