World Intellectual Property Organization

India

The Cinematograph Act, 1952

 

 


The Cinematograph Act, 1952

1. Short title, extent and commencement. (1) This Act may be called the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

(2)
Pars I, II and IV extend to the whole of India (Note:Omitted by Act No.25 of 1973) and Part III extends to [(Note:Subs. by Act 3 of 1959, S.2, for "Part C States".) the Union territories] only.
(3)
This Act shall come into force on such date (Note:The 28th July,1952, I. & B. Ministry's Notification No. S.R.O. 1066, dated 10662, Gazette of India, 1952, Pt. II, S.3, p.945) as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

(Note:Ins. by Act No.25 of 1973) Provided that Parts I and II shall come into force in the State of Jammu and Kashmir only on such date after the commencement of the Cinematograph (Amendment) Act, 1973, as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

Note. The Act enforced in the State of Sikkim, w.e.f. 141983 vide Notification in 1983 CCL III

191.

Note As far as the granting of licence is concerned this Act does not apply to the State of U.P. The scheme of the Act shows that as far as this particular subject is concerned, namely, the subject of grant of the licences to exhibit cinema shows, the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1918 (Act 2 of 1918) are still in force in Part A and Part B States which includes the State of U.P. The other provisions concerning the censorship of the films have been altered by this latter Act and this alteration applies to the whole of India. Bharat Bhushan v.p.G. Saxena, AIR 1965 All 82.

2. Definitions In this Act, unless the context other wise requires,

(a)
"Adult" means a person who has completed his eighteenth year
(b)
[(Note:Subs. by Act No.49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983) "Board" means the Board of Film Certification constituted by the Central Government under Section 3]
(bb) [(Note:Ins. by ibid) "certificate" mean the certificate granted by the Board under Section 5A.]
(c)
"Cinematograph" includes any apparatus for the representation of moving pictures or series of pictures,
(d)
"District magistrate" in relation to presidency town, means the commissioner of police.
(dd) [(Note:Ins. of Act 3 of 1959, S.3.) "film" means a cinematograph film
(e)
"Place" includes a house, building, tent and any description of transport, whether by sea, land or air,
(f)
"Prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act.
(g)
[(Note:Ins. by ibid) "regional officer" means a regional officer appointed by the Central Government under Section 5 and includes an additional regional officer and an assistant regional officer.]
(h)
[(Note:Ins. by ibid) "Tribunal" means the Appellate Tribunal constituted under Section 5D.]

2A. Construction of reference to any law not in force or any functionary not in existence in the State of Jammu and KashmirAny reference in this Act to any law which is not in force, or any functionary not in existence, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, shall, in elation to that Stat, be construed as a reference to the corresponding law in force, or to the corresponding functionary in existence, in that State.

3. Board of Film Censors (1) For the purpose of sanctioning films for public exhibition, the Central Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, constitute a Board to be called the [Board of Film Certification (Note:Subs. by Act No.49 of 1981 (w.e.f.161983)] which shall consist of a Chairman and [(Note:Subs. by Act No.49 of 1981 (w.e.f.161983) not less than twelve and not more than twenty five] other members appointed by the Central Government.

(2)
The Chairman of the Board shall receive such salary and allowance as may be determined by the Central Government, and the other members shall receive such allowances or fees for attending the meetings of the Board as may be prescribed.
(3)
The other terms and conditions of service of the members of the Board shall be such as may be prescribed. 4. Examination of films (1) Any person desiring to exhibit any film shall in the prescribed manner make an application to the Board for ac certificate in respect thereof, and the Board may, after examining or having the film examined in the prescribed manner
(i)
Sanction the film for unrestricted public exhibition (Note:Omitted by ibid).
[(Note:Ins. by ibid) Provided that, having regard to any material in the film, if the Board is of the opinion that it is necessary to caution that the question as to whether any child below the age of twelve years may be allowed to see such a film should be considered by the parents or guardian of such child, the Board may sanction the film for unrestricted public exhibition with an endorsement to that effect or;];
(ii)
Sanction the film for public exhibition restricted to adults, or

(iia) [(Note:Subs. by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983) sanction the film for public exhibition restricted to members of any profession or any class of persons, having regard to the nature, content and theme of the film; or;];

(iii) [(Note:Subs. by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983) direct the applicant to carry out such excisions or modifications in the film as it thinks necessary before sanctioning the film for public exhibition under any of the foregoing clauses; or]

(iv)
Refuse to sanction the film for public exhibition.
(2)
No action under [the proviso to clause (I), clause (ii), clause (iia), clause (iii) or clause (iv) (Note:Subs. by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983)] of sub section (1) shall be taken by the Board except after giving an opportunity to the applicant for representing his views in the matter.

4. Examination of films (1) Any person desiring to exhibit any film shall in the prescribed manner make an application to the Board for ac certificate in respect thereof, and the Board may, after examining or having the film examined in the prescribed manner

(i)
Sanction the film for unrestricted public exhibition (Note:Omitted by ibid).
[(Note:Ins. by ibid) Provided that, having regard to any material in the film, if the Board is of the opinion that it is necessary to caution that the question as to whether any child below the age of twelve years may be allowed to see such a film should be considered by the parents or guardian of such child, the Board may sanction the film for unrestricted public exhibition with an endorsement to that effect or;];
(ii)
Sanction the film for public exhibition restricted to adults, or

(iia) [(Note:Subs. by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983) sanction the film for public exhibition restricted to members of any profession or any class of persons, having regard to the nature, content and theme of the film; or;];

(iii) [(Note:Subs. by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983) direct the applicant to carry out such excisions or modifications in the film as it thinks necessary before sanctioning the film for public exhibition under any of the foregoing clauses; or]

(iv)
Refuse to sanction the film for public exhibition.
(2)
No action under [the proviso to clause (I), clause (ii), clause (iia), clause (iii) or clause (iv) (Note:Subs. by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983)] of sub section (1) shall be taken by the Board except after giving an opportunity to the applicant for representing his views in the matter.

5. Advisory panels(1) For the purpose of enabling the Board of efficiently discharge its functions under this Act, the Central Government may establish at such regional centers as it thinks fit, advisory panels each of which shall consist of such number of persons being persons qualified in the opinion of the Central Government may think fit to appoint thereto.

(2)
At each regional center there shall be as many regional officers as the Central Government may think fit to appoint and rule made in this behalf may provide for the association of regional officers in the examination of films.
(3)
The Board may consult in such manner as may be prescribed any advisory panel in respect of any film for which an application for a certificate has been made.
(4)
It shall be the duty of every such advisory panel whether acting as a body or in committees as may be provided in the rules made in this behalf to examine the film and to make such recommendations to the Board as it thinks fit.
(5)
The members of the advisory panel shall not be entitled to any salary but shall receive such fees or allowances as may be prescribed.
Notes

Where the order under Section 5(4) by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, New Delhi was served on the petitioner in Bombay, the Bombay High Court had no jurisdiction to entertain under Article 226 of the Constitution.

5A. Certification of films. [(Note:Subs. by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983) (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 subsection (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.
5B. Principles for guidance in certifying films. (1) A film shall not be certified for public exhibition if, in the opinion of the authority competent to grant the certificate, the film or any part of it is against the interests of [(Ins. by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983) the sovereignty and integrity of India] the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or involves defamation or contempt of court or is likely to incite the commission of any offence.
(2)
Subject to the provisions contained in subsection (1), the Central Government may issue such directions as it may think fit setting out the principles which shall guide the authority competent to grant certificates under this Act in sanctioning films for public exhibition.
Notes

Censorship in India has full justification in the field of the exhibition of cinema films. It is in the interest of society. The censorship of films including prior restraint is justified under the Constitution.

It has almost universally recognised that the treatment of motion pictures must be different from that of other forms of art and expression. Therefore classification of films into categories of "U" films "A" films is a reasonable classification.

It is not elements of rape, leprosy, sexual immorality which should attract the censor's scissors but how the theme is handled by the producer.

5C. Appeals. (1) Any person applying for a certificate in respect of a film who is aggrieved by any order of the Board

(a)
Refusing to grant a certificate ; or
(b)
Granting only an "A" certificate ; or
(c)
Granting only a "S" certificate ; or
(d)
Granting only a "UA" certificate ; or
(e)
Directing the applicant to carry out any excisions or modifications, may, within thirty days from the date of such order, prefer an appeal to the Tribunal :
Provided that the Tribunal may, if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal within the aforesaid period of thirty days, allow such appeal to be admitted within a further period of thirty days.
(2)
Every appeal under this section shall be made by a petition in writing and shall be accompanied by a brief statement of the reasons for the order appealed against where such statement has been furnished to the appellant and by such fees, not exceeding rupees one thousand, as may be prescribed.
5D. Constitution of Appellate Tribunal. (1) For the purpose of hearing appeals against any order of the Board under Section 5C, the Central Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute an Appellate Tribunal.
(2)
The head office of the Tribunal shall be at New Delhi or at such other place as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify.
(3)
Such Tribunal shall consist of a Chairman and not more than four other members appointed by the Central Government.
(4)
A person shall not be qualified for appointment as the Chairman of the Tribunal unless he is a retired Judge of a High Court, or is a person who is qualified to be a Judge of a High Court.
(5)
The Central Government may appoint such persons who, in its opinion, are qualified to judge the effect of films on the public, to be members of the Tribunal.
(6)
The Chairman of the Tribunal shall receive such salary and allowances as may be determined by the Central Government and the members shall receive such allowances or fees as may be prescribed.
(7)
Subject to such rules as may be made in this behalf, the Central Government may appoint a Secretary and such other employees as it may think necessary for the efficient performance of the functions of the Tribunal under this Act.
(8)
The Secretary to, and other employees of, the Tribunal shall exercise such powers and perform such duties as may be prescribed after consultation with the Chairman of the Tribunal.
(9)
The other terms and conditions of service of the Chairman and members of, and the Secretary to, and other employees of, the Tribunal shall be such as may be prescribed.
(10)
Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Tribunal may regulate its own procedure.
(11)
The Tribunal may, after making such inquiry into the matter as it considers necessary, and after giving the appellant and the Board an opportunity of being heard in the matter, make such order in relation to a film as it thinks fit and the Board shall dispose of the matter in conformity with such order.
5E. Suspension and revocation of certificate(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub section (2) of Section 6,the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, suspend a certificate granted under this Part, for such period as it thinks fit or may revoke such certificate if it is satisfied that
(i)
The film in respect of which the certificate was granted, was being exhibited in a form other than the one in which it was certified , or
(ii)
The film or any part thereof it being exhibited in contravention of the provisions of this part rules made there under.
(2)
Where a notification under subsection (1) has been published, the Central Government may require the applicant for certificate or any other person to whom the rights in the film have passed, or both, to deliver up the certificate and all duplicate certificates, if any, granted in respect of the film to the Board or to any person or authority specified in the said notification.
(3)
No action under this section shall be taken except after giving an opportunity to the person concerned for representing his views in the matter.
(4)
During the period in which a certificate remains suspended under this section, the film shall be deemed to be an uncertified film.

5F. Review of orders by Central Government. (1) Where an applicant for a certificate or any other person to whom the rights in the film have passed, is aggrieved by any order of the Central Government under Section 5E, he may, within sixty days of the date of publication of the notification in the Official Gazette, make an application to the Central Government for review of the order, setting out in such application the grounds on which he considers such review to be necessary :

Provided that the Central Government may, if it is satisfied that the applicant for a certificate or that other person was prevented by sufficient cause from filing an application for review within the aforesaid period of sixty days, allow such application to be filed within a further period of sixty days.

(2) On receipt of the application under subsection (1), the Central Government may, after giving the aggrieved person a reasonable opportunity of being heard, and after making such further inquiry, as it may consider necessary, pass such order as it thinks fit, confirming, modifying or reversing its decision and the Board shall dispose of the matter in conformity with such order.

6. Revisional powers of the Central Government (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Part, the Central Government [(Note:Subs. by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983) may, of its own motion, at any stage] call for the record of any proceeding in relation to any film which is pending before, or has been decided by the Board [(Note:Ins. by ibid) or, as the case may be, decided by the Tribunal (but not including any proceeding in respect of any matter which is pending before the Tribunal)] and after such inquiry into the matter as it considers necessary, make such order in relation thereto as it thinks fit, and the Board shall dispose of the matter in conformity with such order.

Provided that no such order shall be made prejudicially affecting any person applying for a certificate or to whom a certificate has been granted, as the case may be, except after giving him an opportunity for representing his views in the matter.

[(Note:Ins. by ibid) Provided further that nothing in this sub section shall require the Central Government to disclose any fact which it considers to be against public interest to disclose.]

(2)
Without prejudice to the powers conferred on it under sub section (1), the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, direct that
(a)
A film which has been granted a certificate shall be deemed to be uncertified film in the whole
or any part of India, or
(b)
A film which has been granted a "U" certificate [(Note:Ins. by ibid) or a "UA" certificate or a "S" certificate] shall be deemed to be a film in respect of which an "A" certificate has been granted, or
(c)
The exhibition of any film be suspended for such period as may be specified in the direction.
Provided that no direction issued under clause (c) shall remain in force for more than two months from the date of the notification.
(3)
No action shall be taken under clause (a) or clause (b) of sub section (2) except after giving an opportunity to the person concerned for representing his views in the matter.
(4)
During the period in which a film remains suspended under clause (c) of sub section (2), the film shall be deemed to be an uncertified film.

6A. Information and documents to be given to distributors and exhibitors with respect to certified films Any person who delivers any certified film to any distributor or exhibitor shall, in such manner as may be prescribed, notify to the distributor or exhibitor, as the case may be, the title, the length of the film, the number and the nature of the certificate granted in respect thereof and the conditions, if any, subject to which it has been so granted, and any other particulars respecting the film which may be prescribed.

7. Penalties for contraventions of this Part [(Note:Subs. by Act 19 of 1953, S.4, for subsection (1)) (1) If any person

(a)
Exhibits or permits to be exhibited in any place
(i)
Any film other than a film which has been certified by the Board as suitable for unrestricted public exhibition or for public exhibition restricted to adults [(Note:Ins. by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983) or to members of any profession or any class of persons) and which, when exhibited, displays the prescribed mark of the Board and has not been altered or tampered with in any way since such mark was affixed thereto.
(ii)
Any film, which has been certified by the Board a suitable for public exhibition restricted to adults, to any person who is not an adult, (Note:Omitted by abed).
(iia) [(Note:Ins. by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983) any film which has been certified by the Board as suitable for public exhibition restricted to any profession or class or persons, to a person who is not a member of such profession or who is not a member of such class, or )
(a)
Without lawful authority (the burden of proving which shall be on him), alters or tampers with in any way any film after it has been certified, or
(b)
Fails to comply with the provision contained in Section 6A or with any order made by the Central Government or by the Board in the exercise of any of the powers or functions conferred on it by this Act or the rules made there under.

[(Note:Subs. by Act 56 of 1984) he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both, and in the case of a continuing offence with a further fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees for each day during which the offence continues:

Provided that a person who exhibits or permits to be exhibited in any place a video film in contravention of the provisions of sub clause (I) of clause (a) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three months, but which may extend to three years and with fine which shall not be less than twenty thousand rupees, but which may extend to one lakh rupees, and in the case of a continuing offence with a further fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees for each day during which the offence continues.

Provided further that a court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than three months, or a fine of less than twenty thousand rupees.]

[(Note:Subs. by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983) Provided [(Note:Ins. by ibid) further] that notwithstanding anything contained in section 29 of the code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), it shall be lawful for any Metropolitan Magistrate, or any Judicial Magistrate of the first class specially empowered by the State Government in this behalf, to pass a sentence of fine exceeding five thousand rupees on any person convicted of any offence punishable under this part.

[(Note:Subs. by ibid) Provided also] no distributor or exhibitor or owner or employee of a cinema house shall be liable to punishment for contravention of any condition of endorsement of caution on a film as "UA" under this part.]

(2)
If any person is convicted of an offence punishable under this section committed by him in respect of any film, the convicting court may further direct that the film shall be forfeited to the Government.
(3)
The exhibition of a film, in respect of which an "A" certificate [(Note:Ins. by Act 49 of 1981

(w.e.f. 161983) or a "S" certificate or a "UA" certificate] has been granted, to children below the age of three years accompanying their parents or guardians shall not be deemed to be an office within the meaning of this section.

7A. Power of seizure(1) Where a film in respect of which no certificate has been granted under this Act is exhibited, or a film certified as suitable for public exhibition restricted to adults is exhibited to any person who is not an adult or a film is exhibited in contravention of any of the other provisions contained in this Act or of any order made by the Central Government, [the Tribunal (Note:Ins. by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983)] or the Board in the exercise of any of the powers conferred on it, any public officer may, (Note:Omitted by abid) enter any place in which he has reason to believe that the film has been or is being or is likely to be exhibited , search it and seize the film.

(2)
All searches under this Act shall be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the (Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973) ( 2 of 1974) relating to searches.
7B. Delegation of powers by Board [(Note:Original S. 7B, renumbered as subsection (1) by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983) (1)] The Central Government may, by general or special order, direct that any power, authority or jurisdiction exercisable by the Board under this Act shall [in relation to the certification of the films under this Part (Note:Subs. by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983)] and subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in the order, be exercisable also by the Chairman or any other member of the Board, and anything done r action taken by the Chairman or other member specified in the order shall be deemed to be a thing done or action taken by the Board.
(2)
(Note:Ins. by ibid) The Central Government may, by order and subject to such conditions and restrictions as may be prescribed, authorise the regional officers to issue provisional certificates.

7–C. Power to direct exhibition of films for examination For the purpose of exercising any of the powers conferred on it by this Act, the Central Government, the Tribunal (Note:Ins. by ibid)] or the Board may require any film to be exhibited before it or before any persons or authority (Note:Subs. by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983) specified by it in this behalf. 7D. Vacancies, etc., not to invalidate proceeding No act or proceeding of [the Tribuna (Note:Ins. by ibid)] the Board or of any advisory panel shall be deemed to be invalid by reason only of a vacancy in, or any defect in the constitution of [the Tribuna (Note:Ins. by ibid)] the Board or panel, as the case may be.

7E. Members of the Board and advisory panels to be public servants All members of the [the Tribunal, (Note:Ins. by ibid)] the Board and of any advisory panel shall, when acting or purporting to act in pursuance of any of the provisions of this Act, be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860). 7F. Bar of legal proceedings No suit or other legal proceeding shall lie against the Central Government, [the Tribunal, (Note:Ins. by ibid)] the Board, advisory panel or any officer or member of the Central Government, [the Tribunal, (Note:Ins. by ibid)] the Board or advisory panel, as the case may be, in respect of anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done under this Act.]

8. Power to make rules (1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of this Part.

(2)
[(Note:Subs. by Act 49 of 1981 (w.e.f. 161983) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, rules made under this section may provide for
(a)
The allowance or fees payable to the members of the Board.
(b)
The terms an conditions of service of the members of the Board.
(c)
The manner of making an application to the Board for a certificate and the manner in which a film has to be examined by the Board and the fees to be levied therefore.
(d)
The association of regional officers in the examination of films, the conditions and restrictions subject to which regional officers may be authorised under Section 7B to issue provisional certificates and the period of validity of such certificates.
(e)
The manner in which the Board may consult any advisory panel in respect of any film.
(f)
The allowance or fees payable to the members of advisory panel
(g)
The marking of the films
(h)
The allowances or fees payable to the members of the Tribunal
(i)
The powers and duties of the Secretary to, and other employee of, the Tribunal.
(j)
The other terms and conditions of service of the Chairman and members of, and the Secretary to, and other employees of, the Tribunal
(k)
The fees payable by the appellant to the Tribunal in respect of an appeal;
(l)
The conditions (including conditions relating to the length of films in general or any class of films, in particular) subject to which any certificate may be granted, or the circumstances in which any certificate shall be refused.
(m)
Any other matter which is required to be or may be prescribed.]
(3)
[(Note:Subs. by Act 25 of 1973) Every rule made by the Central Government under this Part shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before each House of Parliament, while it is in session , for total period of thirty days which may be comprise in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if, before the expiry of the session immediately following the session or the successive sessions aforesaid, both Houses agree in making any modification in the rule or both Houses agree that the rule should not be made, the rule shall, thereafter, have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect, as the case may be so however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that rule.]
    1. Power to exempt The Central Government may, by order in writing exempt, subject to such conditions and restrictions, if any, as it may impose, the exhibition of any film or class of films from any of the provisions of this Part or of any rules made there under.
    2. Note For exemption, see note in the appendix.
  1. Cinematograph exhibitions to be licensed Save as otherwise provided in this Part, no person shall give an exhibition by means of a cinematograph elsewhere that in a place licensed under this Part or otherwise than in compliance with any conditions and restrictions imposed by such liecnes.
    1. Licensing authority The authority having power to grant licences under this Part (hereinafter referred to as the licensing authority) shall be the district magistrate.
    2. Provided that the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute, for the whole or any part of a [(Note:Subs. by Act 58 of 1960, S.3 and Sch. II, for "Part C State") Union territory], such other authority as it may specify in the notification to be the licensing authority for the purposes of this Part.
  2. Restrictions on powers of licensing authority (1) The licensing authority shall not grant a licence under this Part, unless it is satisfied that
(a)
The rules made under this Part have