Thursday, 9 April 2009

Photographer’s Rights in India

I was recently researching on Photography rights in India and struggled to find much information on this subject. Following are some important things to be aware of. Hope you find it useful.

Disclaimer: The information is provided AS-IS. I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. You are requested to talk to a lawyer if you have queries on this subject.

Photography at Airports and Aerial Photography:
Until recently there were regulations that restricted photography at Airports and from inside an aircraft in India. This has now changed and the Ministry of Civil Aviation has now released a directive which states the following:

Removal of Restrictions on Photography
Hitherto, air passengers in India faced restrictions on photography
at terminal buildings of aerodromes and from inside an aircraft. These restrictions have now been removed. Photography by passengers of scheduled flights in terminal buildings of civil aerodromes and civil enclaves of Defence aerodromes is now allowed. Passengers are now also permitted to take photographs from inside an aircraft while in flight or landing/take off at civil aerodromes. However, photography from inside an aircraft is not permitted at Defence aerodromes.

Available at: Removal of Restrictions on Photography

Photography of Trains and Railway Stations:
The only official statement i could find on this subject is available at: Grant of permission for still/video photography and film shooting in railway premises/trains – Policy regarding

I am not sure if there is a newer version of this updated please do post a comment if you are aware of any. I have reproduced sections below which are relevant for Indian citizens who wish to undertake Still/Video Photography for personal and non-commercial use.


The locations for still/video photography or film shooting indicated by the applicants (and cleared by the MEA or Ministry of Information & Broadcasting as the case may be and wherever necessary) are generally considered for grant of permission subject to the security clearance in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) from time to time and circulated to the Railways/Units by the Security Directorate of the Ministry of Railways. ………………….. In respect of the requests of Indian nationals, security clearance shall be granted by the security Departments of the respective Railways/Units.


The requests of the Indian nationals seeking permission for still/video photography or film shooting in Railway premises/trains are required to be submitted to the Chief Public Relations Officers of the respective Railways/Units depending upon the locations for which permission is sought. The persons/parties seeking such permission should clearly specify the locations to be covered, the likely date(s) of coverage and the purpose for undertaking still/video photography or film shooting.


1.3 The permission letter, indicating the conditions mentioned in para-1.5 to 1.7 and 2.7 (wherever applicable), shall be issued by the Public Relations Directorate Railway Board or the CPROs of the Railways/Units (as the case may be) directly to the individual applicants (or their representatives) endorsing a copy thereof to the Security Department also.

Para 1.5 to 1.7 and 2.7 is as follows:

Para 1.5 The permission letter issued under para-1.3 is to be treated as authority enabling the applicants to take still/video photographs in railway premises/trains till the validity period indicated therein. The rules/procedure (if any) regulating entry into a particular railway premises, train, etc will have to be followed meticulously. It is clarified that the permission letter, allowing still/video photography, is neither a travel authority nor does it ipso-facto authorize the holder to enter any railway premises/train.

Para 1.6 The holder of the permission letter is required to give prior information to the Station Manager/In-charge of the concerned stations/premises before undertaking still/video photography. He has to observe safety and security regulations in vogue on the Railways and ensure that still/video photography is confined to railway premises/trains only; it does not affect normal working of the Railways; it does not cause inconvenience to other rail users; and it does not cover places prohibited for still/video photography by the Railways.

Para 1.7 The holder of the permission letter should disclose his/her identity and show the permission letter to the railway officials on demand. In addition, the foreign nationals should have valid Passport/Visa while visiting various locations and they shall be under an obligation to show the same on demand by the local railway authorities

Para 2.7 In the above two cases (para-2.5 and 2.6—see Below-), a written undertaking should be taken from the parties to the effect that any commercial use of the shots taken shall be unlawful and that they will fully indemnify the Railways in the event of any such use and also for any other loss/damage caused to the Railways. A mention to this effect may be made in the permission letter also.

Section regarding License fee Waiver

Para 2.5 However, no licence fee need be levied for still photography to be undertaken by the tourists, rail enthusiasts, etc for personal and non-commercial use and professional journalists (Indian or foreign) for news features on Railways.

para 2.6 Similarly, no licence fee need be levied for video photography (without requiring any railway rolling stocks or special facilities) to be undertaken by the tourists, rail enthusiasts, etc (without using a professional video camera, tripods, lights, etc) exclusively for personal and non-commercial use and professional journalists (Indian or foreign) for news features on Railways.

Photography at Indian Monuments:

The Archeological Survey of India has the following in one of its FAQs (Photography, Filming of Monuments):

Q. Can one take photographs of protected monuments?

Ans. One can take photograph of any protected monument. One is not authorize to bring camera stand, extra lights, or any such appliance

Q. Who can grant permission for photography in monuments?

Ans. One can use camera stand, artificial lights or any such appliance with the permission granted by an archaeological officer in writing.

The Aviation Ministry has taken a step in the right direction by allowing photography at Airports and from the flight (at civil Aerodromes naturally). Lets hope to see similar steps being taken by the Railway Ministry.

If you do come across other relevant information please post it in the comments below and I will update the post accordingly.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

My First Blog

I have finally decided (again) to start blogging. It's an attempt to 'sharpen the saw' as I attempt to document my learnings.