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Checking content in the music trade  

Traditional Indian music from ‘gharanas’ with wealthy cultural traditions and values has wafted via the air from time immemorial carrying legacies of fables, legends and ballads. But at present the music trade — we’re particularly taking a look at the music emanating from Punjab — is being examined on a number of fronts, together with crass commercialism, vulgar overtones and misogynistic lyrics.

What are the legal guidelines on music in India?

Section 294 of The Indian Penal Code, 1860, punishes singing, reciting or uttering any obscene track in or close to any public place with imprisonment of three months or fantastic or each. Entry 60 of The Union listing of the Constitution of India empowers the Central authorities to enact legal guidelines for sanctioning of cinematograph movies for exhibition. The Censor Board, in flip classifies movies for restricted or unrestricted public exhibition. Further, the Government of India, below the Union listing, can enact legal guidelines for wi-fi, broadcasting and different like types of communication. Besides, there are content restrictions for cable tv in the Cable Network Act, 1995 and restraints for web in Section 67 of The Information Technology Act, 2000 which prohibits publication of obscene materials in digital type. Internet content can also be managed by pointers for web service suppliers who’re below an obligation to forestall any obscene, objectionable and unauthorised materials over their networks.

What about the States?

Besides these legal guidelines, States too have laws in place to maintain obscene content in test. For instance, the Punjab Cinemas (Regulation) Act, 1952, governs issues referring to licensing and regulation of cinemas in the territory of Punjab. The Punjab Dramatic Performances Act, 1964, supplies for higher management of dramatic performances in Punjab and empowers the District Magistrate to ban any objectionable dramatic efficiency in a public place. The Music in Muslim Shrines Act, 1942 was enacted to regulate performances by ladies in Muslim shrines and barred any lady or woman to both sing or dance in a Muslim shrine. Other than this, music for society in basic, is unregulated by any State enactment relevant in Punjab, primarily as a result of it’s inside the area of the Government of India to make a regulatory legislation relevant all through the territory of India.

Why is there a yawning hole?

Irrespective of the matter being a central topic, Entry 33 of the State listing of the Constitution of India, empowers the State authorities to enact legal guidelines for theatres and dramatic performances, sports activities, leisure and amusement. Since sound recordings will not be regulated by any central enactment like the Censor Board certification for movies below the Cinematograph Act, 1952, the music trade goes unchecked as track content has no regulatory mechanism. A track which is a mixture of lyrics, composition and voices of a performer recorded in a studio, the producer is its first proprietor below the Copyright Act, 1957. Regardless, pirated music bought at abnormally low prices guidelines the roost. However, offensive and vulgar lyrics don’t discover statutory street blocks apart from Section 294 of the IPC for punishing obscene acts and songs.

What is the treatment?

Under Entry 33 of the State List of the Constitution of India, the Government of Punjab is properly inside its powers to contemplate music as part of “entertainment” and enact a brand new regulatory legislation to curb ‘vulgar’ music. The Music in Muslim Shrines Act, 1942 and The Punjab Dramatic Performances Act, 1964 are examples of Punjab laws which might be emulated to place this proposition into observe. The want of the hour is to enact stricter laws to regulate composers and lyricists, after defining the contours of an indecent track.

Anil Malhotra, an alumni of SOAS, London, is an IAML Fellow. He practices at the High Court and has authored 9 books.

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