HC strikes down GR prohibiting artists aged 65 above 65 from participating in film shootingsUpdated: Aug 08, 2020 01:10 IST
Artists and crew members aged above 65 years are now free to resume shootings for films, television serials and over-the-top media, after the Bombay high court (HC) on Friday struck down a condition imposed by the Maharashtra government in view of the Covid-19 pandemic prohibiting them from attending studios and outdoor shootings.
The bench of justice SJ Kathawalla and justice Riyaz Chagla struck down the condition on the grounds that it was discriminatory and arbitrary. “In our view, there is discrimination in the disparate treatment of persons who are 65 years of age or above in the film or television industry and in other permitted sectors and permitted activities,” said the bench.
The condition formed part of a government resolution (GR) issued on May 30, the day on which the state government allowed resumption of shootings for films, television serials and over-the-top media series, and pre-production and post-production works after a gap of over two months.
The bench said if there was no general prohibition on persons above 65 years from working or practicing their trades and businesses that were allowed to operate, an age based prohibition in only one industry, namely the film industry / television / OTT “would constitute an unreasonable restriction”.
HC said it would be a different matter if for policy and health considerations, the film industry would not be allowed to operate or open for filming and other related activities. “However, having permitted the film industry to operate and open, introduction of the condition that places an absolute restriction on persons above 65 years from carrying out their occupation and trade, would amount to an unreasonable restriction, and hence a violation of their right under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.”
Pramod Pandey, an actor by profession, who has been earning his livelihood by performing small roles in films and TV serials since the past 40 years, and the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association had challenged the validity of the condition before HC. They opposed the condition primarily on the grounds that it was discriminatory and imposes unreasonable restriction on their right to carry on their trade and occupation.
HC accepted their contentions and held that the absolute prohibition on cast and crew above 65 years who earn their livelihood from the film industry was a measure that violated the right of the petitioners to live with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.