The Cine-Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1981 (Act no. 30 of 1981) was enacted on matters of financing of the activities of promoting certain Cine- Workers’ welfare by imposing and collecting Cess on feature films. The Parliament of India on the 32nd year of republic of India has enacted this Act and the same was given assent by the honourable President of India on 11th day of September, 1981. The date on which the present Act was brought into operation or effect was notified by the Central Government in its Official Gazette as 1st day of January, 1984. The provision of the Act are sought to be extended to the entire territories of India without any exception. There are in all ten section in the Act in which the entire provisions as shown in the purpose afore discussed, have been divided.
The first provision of the Act is preliminary one, where, the Act was short titled and its extent is discussed and also about the commencement date thereof the provision is made. For definitions of the various terms used in the provisions of the Act, the section 2 of the Act could be referred.
Most important and relevant to the object of the Act, provisions are provided from section 3 of the Act. At the first instance thereof, the Act sought to levy and collect the cess on feature films. By the Amending Act no. 37 of 1993 which has provided this provision as, for the purpose of the Cine- Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1981, the excise duty at the rate fixed by the Central Government to be imposed and collected on every feature film. The Central Government is given authority to fix the rate by notifying the same in the Official Gazette, however, such rate should be between Rs. 1000 to Rs. 20,000 only. It is further made clear by the Act in its further provision that, such excise duty should be additionally collected to any other cess or duty which is imposable on Cinematograph films under any other prevailing law. The ‘feature film’ as referred to in the Act is a Cinematograph film of full length which is produced in India either partly or entirely and other than advertisement films.
For making such payment of excise duty under this Act, the Producer of the concerned Film is responsible and such payment to be made to the Central Government. The period of making such payment is provided till the making of application for certificate in relation to such film by the Producer under the provisions of Cinematograph Act, 1952 (Act no. 37 of 1952). The provisions also made in relation to the claims for refunding of such excise duty paid by the Producer and certain grounds for such claim are mentioned in the Act as if the certificate within the provisions of aforesaid Act of 1952 was refused by the concerned authority by making orders and also if such producer not interested to prefer appeal against such orders of refusal of certificate.
The Act further sought crediting the proceeds of the excise duty collected under this Act, in the Consolidated Fund of India. Further, the Central Government is empowered under this Act to allow exemption from applicability of the provisions of this Act in relation to such featured films which in its opinion necessarily to be exempted after having regard to the contents, technical quality and other relevant factors thereof. Such exemption are required to be allowed by notifying in the Official Gazette and there may be certain terms and conditions in relation to such exemption.
As the basic subject of the Act is imposition and collection of excise duty, if any failure found in this respect, then the producer who is responsible for such payment of excise duty, should be awarded punishment with penalty which here provides as below Rs. 50 for each months of continuation of such failure. And the amount of excise duty will be treated as arrears and be recovered by the Central Government as in the manner as arrears of land revenue are recovered. The Act also provided protection against legal actions to the Central Government, its officers or employees for their actions taken in good faith or if the same were intended within the provisions of this Act. The Central Government is further provided with rule making power under this Act, where such rules to be provided by it for effecting the purpose of this Act and also on the matters enumerated in the relevant provision of this Act.
By May, 2012 it was seen that, the Cine workers including actors, musicians, cameramen, light boys, electricians, etc. whose monthly remuneration is below Rs 8,000 or who draw a lump sum remuneration below Rs 1,00,000 are covered by the Cine Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1981, and the present Act, in respect of their welfare as intended in those enactments.
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