This is an appeal against the Chief Presidency Magistrate’s, for convicting the manager of the Gemini Studio in Madras for violating the requirements of “The Factories Act” and committing an offence under “Section 92 of the said Act.”
It is undisputed that 10 or more people work or were working at the premises in issue on any given day in the prior twelve months, but it is disputed is, that the people engaged are not workers and that the work they are doing is not considered to be a manufacturing process.
Primarily, we must determine if what is taking place is a manufacturing process. Second, if it is considered a manufacturing process, the people involved are individuals who are paid for their efforts. Third, if the premises and precincts where these activities take place constitute a factory.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
“The following three offences were determined to be committed by the appellant: (1) under Section 61 and Section 108(2) read with Rule 79 for failing to specify or enter the working hours of the workers engaged in the departments, of directors and artists, cameramen and sound engineers, makeup artists, electricians, editors, laboratorians and still photographers and their assistants, in the notice of periods of work exhibited at the main entrance of the studio; (2) under Section 62 read with Rule 80 for failing to enter the particulars of the workers engaged in the departments, of directors and artists, cameramen and sound engineers and (3) in violation of Section 20 read with Rule 51 for failing to provide spittoons at the workplace of the sort required by Rule 51.”
“The key point of contention has been whether the studio where the films are made is a factory as defined by the Factories Act, and whether the people who work there are workers as defined by the Act.”
The Act in force that is stated to have been violated is the Factories Act (63 of 1948), yet the studio in issue existed even before the act was established and was registered when the previous “Act 25 of 1934, which was superseded by Act 63 of 1948, was in effect.”
- Appellant contends that except the three departments related to “carpenters, molders, and tinkers”, the rest of the studio cannot be deemed to be a “factory,” and that these departments are located at a separate facility which meets the criteria of the Factories Act.
- The primary and most important activity of a film studio is the development of enjoyment for the paying audience, and that movies, while they may be considered medium of expression, are primarily entertainment. “It is consequently argued that in order to qualify a film studio’s operation as a factory, it will be necessary to include entertainment as a product or a substance. The fact that movies are generally mediums of expression cannot be disputed, and thus what is eventually distributed to the various picture houses for exhibition is not what existed at the outset, but rather the story, plot, or idea that is worked up and knit into a continuous version that constitutes the public entertainment.”
- The production of a finished talkie picture is primarily ethereal material produced by individual brilliance that is incompetent of regulation or standardization, hence no manufacturing takes place. Any artificial or mechanical process that transforms a raw film into a completed product cannot be regarded to be the primary driver. The defense uses the analogy that converting a raw video into a finished product is similar to authoring a book by an author, where the material used for making of the book i.e. paper and cardboard are made from raw materials for an intricate production that is eventually handed to the public.
- It is argued that when creating a book, a raw material, namely paper, is converted into a complete product, called the book, in which the thoughts are articulated and shown. In summary, the dispute is, implying that a raw movie on which music and photographs are recorded as well as absorbed is a raw material that is turned into a produced object is deceptive and wrong.
- Film production aims to provide intangible amusement rather than the manufacture of a commercial commodity, and whereas in the typical manufacturing process it is feasible to standardize a product through specific designs or formulas to assure success, film production is unable to do so. “Whatever the nature of the labor done in the production of cinema pictures, and the mental thrill or viewpoint that it provides to the audience, one thing cannot be denied: the conversion of a raw film into a final product falls under the description of manufacturing process in the section.”
- The main argument is that it would be a violation of the language to refer to the pay for completing the work by those employed in the aforementioned departments as “wages” in any meaning of the term. In order to determine if the Factories Act was meant to restrict the nature of such people’ job, one must first visualise an overarching and broad image of the entire issue.
- The Gemini Studio’s business is a “manufacturing process” and the people who work there, directly or even indirectly, are engaged for “wages” in the “manufacturing process”; as such, the premises and precincts constitute a factory. The inevitable conclusion of the reasoning is that all the departments mentioned are deemed to be in the factory.
- The process involved in transforming a raw film into a completed product on which photographic symbols are printed and sounds are absorbed is “adapting any thing or substances with a view to its usage.” “Making, altering, repairing, ornamenting, finishing, packaging, oiling, washing, cleaning, breaking up, and demolition do not apply to the procedure applied here.” However, it is said that the raw film, which is a product, is handled or changed in preparation for its use, which is the showing of the film for entertainment purposes. As a result, converting a raw movie into a movie suitable for display in a theatre is considered to be a manufacturing process.
- The manager of the Studio, who monitors the workings and feels the rhythm and beat of the entire establishment, would be considered a worker, as would the manager, who is now being punished.
- These challenges are not insurmountable because, under the Act’s requirements, such people can be exempted. He draws our attention to the “Act’s Rules 81, 82, and 84”. “Rule 81” states that the people who are mentioned in the schedule are supposed to inhabit the positions of management or supervision, whereas “Rule 82” states that all people mentioned hold confidential position.
- The mentioned schedule also lists the Act requirements from which such individuals may be exempted. In the case of movie studios, the nature of the exempted labour is the building or dismantling of “sets” or the “make-up of actors and actresses in cinema studios”, and the scope of the exemption is governed by “Sections 51, 54, 55, 56, and 61 of the Act.”
- Due to exception, the State contends that there is no insurmountable barrier in applying the Act to cinema studios.
Though every change to an item does not make it a new character or a manufactured product, in this situation, when a raw movie is formed and changed in a finished item, a distinct piece arises from it with a constructive and detailed usage in its new form. It is turned into a new material through the art and talent of numerous people, along with the help of the “camera and sound recording tools”. The transformation of a raw movie into a completed product is a transformation that qualifies as a manufacturing process within the definition of the word. The raw material, which is used for preparing the movie, is any substance, which has to be rendered on the screen of the theatre, after the process of tracing is done, and sound is absorbed whereas the photos are imprinted, such process or change would mean that such change is done in order to adapt any substance for further use.
Even if intellectual or creative labour is hired, if the payment for such labour obtained by the individual involved may be referred to as “wages in the manufacturing process”, then the individual thus engaged is deemed to be a “worker”. The second question is, what does the phrase “premises” including “precincts” mean in Clause (m). Precincts are defined as “an area surrounded by walls or fences.” A factory will not be considered a place where it is utilized for works which are not production process being done in a factory or workshop.” Two requirements must be met for any ‘premises’ to be classified as a factory:
- Ten or more people are employed in the premises, either utilizing or not using power.
- At least twenty workers must be employed without the use of power.
As a result, the process of converting raw film into film display in a cinema theatre is classified as a manufacturing process under “Section 2 (K)”.
This article is written by Miss. Ananaya Chauhan, 4th Year law Student, Delhi Metropolitan Education, Noida Affiliated to Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi
 K.V.V. Sarma, Manager Gemini Studios, In RE available at: https://www.casemine.com/judgement/in/5608fde0e4b014971114f493#69 (Last Visited on 10-04-2022)