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The Cine-Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1981 was enacted on December 24, 1981 with an intention to regulate the employment conditions of certain cine workers and workers of the cinema theatre and other issues related with the subject. The labour laws that existed in India did not provide adequate safeguards to the low paid performers or artistes and other technicians who are employed in the making of feature films. The law also did not contain the terms of their employment, payment of salaries and remunerations and provisions regarding other amenities. Additionally, the workers of the cinema theatres are not facilitated with gratuity, provident fund and other employment benefits.

The Act defines cinema theatre as a place that has obtained license as per the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 or any law that is enforced in a State for the purpose of exhibiting cinematograph film. A ‘cine worker’ means and includes:

  • A person employed either directly or under a contractor or any other person engaged in the creation of a feature film for the purpose of working as an artist or to do any works of expertise, unskilled, labor-intensive, administrative, scientific, artistic or any other work;
  • A person whose salary for his work connected with the creation of feature film in a month does not go beyond one thousand six hundred rupees where the payment is made by monthly wages, and the feature film shall not exceed fifteen thousand rupees where such payment is made by way of lump sum.

A person shall work as a cine worker for the creation of a feature film only where an agreement is entered between the employee and the producer of the feature film or between the producer and the contractor or with other person. The agreement entered according to the Act shall be registered by the producer of the feature film with the competent authority. The agreement shall be in the specified format and include such particulars as provided under the Act. It shall contain the nature of duties of the worker, working hours, employment benefits if any, manner of payment of remuneration, payment to the provident fund and other stipulations of employment. Where the employee works under a contractor or any agent, the agreement shall contain a specification regarding the obligations to be fulfilled by the contractor to the employee and the remedy for non compliance with such obligations. The specification shall include the liability of the producer to discharge certain responsibilities, payment of remuneration etc. The duplicate of the agreement shall be forwarded to the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner appointed under the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

The Act empowers the Central government for the appointment of conciliation officers entrusted with the responsibility of mediating and encouraging the settlement of disputes arising between the cine workers and the producer of the feature film and any matters connected therewith. The conciliation officers shall commence the conciliation proceedings where a dispute is apprehended and shall discharge such duties as entrusted under the enactment. The settlement reached during the conciliation proceedings shall be absolute and not to be questioned before any court. The competent authority shall have authority to execute the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Moreover, the Central Government is authorized to establish the Cine Workers Tribunal to deal with disputes arising from the terms of agreement. The Tribunal shall follow such procedures according to its discretion and shall have the powers of a civil court constituted under the Civil Procedure Code. The High Court shall revise the orders of the Tribunal where an application is submitted by the aggrieved party in this connection.

As regards the workers of the cinema theatre, the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 shall apply in the same manner as if it has been constituted according to the provisions of the Act. Where the cinema theatre consists of five or more than five workers, the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 shall apply to the employees of such cinema theatre.

The Cine Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1981 is an important enactment which endeavors to resolve the difficulties faced by the cine artists who are exploited by the producers and the contractors and has also unified the working conditions of cinema theatre workers. The Central Government has formulated The Cine Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment) Rules, 1984 for the successful realization of the objectives of the legislation.