‘Why keep 65+ artistes away from sets?’

The Bombay High Court on Friday questioned the Maharashtra government’s decision to not allow artistes above 65 years of age from working, acting or going on film and television sets.

A Division Bench of Justices S.J. Kathawalla and Riyaz Chagla was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by actor Pramod Pandey, along with Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (IMMPA) and Practising Valuers Association (India) (PVA), and others.

The pleas challenge the guidelines issued by the Maharashtra government on May 30, 2020, prohibiting any cast or crew member below the age of 10 and above the age of 65 on the sets.

In his petition, Mr. Pandey said he had been performing small roles in films and TV serials for four decades and did not have any other source of livelihood. IMMPA, which represents film producers and artistes and technicians, along with PVA, urged the court to quash and set aside the State’s decision on the age limit.

The court said the State’s decision to prohibit senior citizens, despite they being physically fit, from going out for shooting and other related work, seemed like a case of discrimination.

State counsel Poornima Kantharia argued that the guidelines were not discriminatory as all senior citizens had been prohibited from stepping out, except for getting essentials.

She said the guidelines were based on several Central government guidelines issued over the last few months of the lockdown.

The court asked if all senior citizens had been prohibited from resuming all types of professional work, to which she said “no”. Justice Kathawalla asked, “If I am a 70-year-old man who owns a shop, will you stop me from opening my shop and sitting there all day?”

Ms. Kantharia replied no. Justice Kathawalla then asked, “On what basis are you stopping artistes? Where else have you applied this rule? This is discrimination.”

The High Court directed Ms. Kantharia to file an affidavit citing the reasons for such a prohibition and also clarify if it had taken into account any data, statistics, or reports before issuing such prohibitory orders.

The Bench also appointed senior counsel Sharan Jagtiani as the amicus curiae in the case and adjourned the matter for hearing to July 29.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 12:17:54 AM |

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