Observing that the decision to prohibit artists above 65 years of age from working at shooting sites is discriminatory, the Bombay High Court on Friday sought to know from the Maharashtra government that if it does not stop a senior citizen from opening shop and sitting there all day, then on what grounds is it not allowing artists from working.
A division bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and Justice R I Chagla was hearing a writ plea filed by actor Pramod Pandey (70) seeking to quash and set aside conditions imposed by the government on May 31. In its 16-page set of guidelines for producers to follow as and when they begin film and television production, the government had said that while actors above 65 will not be permitted on sets, no audience will be allowed for fiction or non-fiction programming.
The HC, on July 21, had directed the state to explain how physically fit people, who are 65 years or above, are expected to lead a dignified life if they are not allowed to go out of their homes and earn livelihood.
On Friday, government pleader Poornima Kantharia told the HC that the guidelines were not discriminatory since all senior citizens have been prohibited from venturing out, except those going out for essential services. The guidelines for artists were based on directives issued by the central government in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, Kantharia said.
Justice Kathawalla asked the government if all senior citizens were prevented from carrying out professional work, will the state stop a 70-year-old shopowner from opening his shop and sitting the entire day. To this, the state submitted that there were no such prohibitions.
“Then why are you stopping artists? Where else have you applied this rule? This is discriminatory,” said Justice Kathawalla.
The HC went on to direct the state to file a reply elaborating the grounds on which such prohibition was imposed on artists and asked it to provide relevant data or reports to substantiate the same. The will be heard again next week.
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