Penalty under Cinematograph Act: Rules Prescribe Manner of Levy

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has notified the Cinematograph (Adjudication of Penalty) Rules, 2024, prescribing the manner of levy of penalty by authorised officers. These were finalised after considering stakeholder comments on the draft rules released earlier this year.

In determining the quantum of penalty, factors such as nature of the violation, its frequency and so on need to be taken into consideration. The rules further elaborate on the procedure for levying penalties as per which a show-cause notice within the specified period has to be served on the person in default. After considering the reply to said show cause notice, the authorised officer may require a physical appearance. The order deciding the penalty must be passed within 90 days of the issue of the show cause notice. A copy of this order should be shared with the concerned persons, the licensing authority, and the Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Such a copy should also be uploaded on the CBFC website.

These rules have been made in the exercise of powers conferred under the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Act, 2023. The provisions of the Amendment Act pertaining to the Cinematograph Act, 1952, came into force on September 1, 2023. With this, changes were made to Sections 7, 8, 14, and 15 of the 1952 Act.

The certification rules were notified three months back pursuant to the Cinematograph (Amendment) Act, 2023, the provisions of which came into force in August 2023. The new developments were considered necessary to meet industry requirements. While the adoption of digital processes, ensuring perpetual validity of certificates, etc. will facilitate ease of doing business, the mechanism for adjudication of penalties will keep contraventions in check thereby leading to a balanced approach.