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 right now the music business — we’re particularly wanting on 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 music in or close to any public place with imprisonment of three months or high quality or each. Entry 60 of The Union checklist 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, beneath the Union checklist, can enact legal guidelines for wi-fi, broadcasting and different like types of communication. Besides, there are content material restrictions for cable tv within 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 kind. Internet content material can also be managed by tips for web service suppliers who’re beneath an obligation to forestall any obscene, objectionable and unauthorised materials over their networks.
What concerning the States?
Besides these legal guidelines, States too have laws in place to maintain obscene content material in test. For instance, the Punjab Cinemas (Regulation) Act, 1952, governs issues regarding licensing and regulation of cinemas within 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 lady to both sing or dance in a Muslim shrine. Other than this, music for society usually, is unregulated by any State enactment relevant in Punjab, primarily as a result of it’s throughout the area of the Government of India to make a regulatory regulation 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 checklist 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 aren’t regulated by any central enactment just like the Censor Board certification for movies beneath the Cinematograph Act, 1952, the music business goes unchecked as music content material has no regulatory mechanism. A music which is a mix of lyrics, composition and voices of a performer recorded in a studio, the producer is its first proprietor beneath the Copyright Act, 1957. Regardless, pirated music offered at abnormally low prices guidelines the roost. However, offensive and vulgar lyrics don’t discover statutory highway 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 regulation to curb ‘vulgar’ music. The Music in Muslim Shrines Act, 1942 and The Punjab Dramatic Performances Act, 1964 are examples of Punjab laws which may be emulated to place this proposition into apply. The want of the hour is to enact stricter laws to control composers and lyricists, after defining the contours of an indecent music.
Anil Malhotra, an alumni of SOAS, London, is an IAML Fellow. He practices on the High Court and has authored 9 books. https://www.anilmalhotra.co.in/