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Restriction on artists above 65 likely to be reviewed on August 1, State informs HC

By Kanchan Chaudhari, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JUL 30, 2020 01:47 AM IST

The Maharashtra government on Wednesday informed the Bombay high court (HC) that the restrictions imposed on cast and crew members above 65 years of age from attending film and television shootings was a temporary measure and may be reviewed when the current lockdown ends on July 31.

Government lawyer Purnima Kantharia informed the bench of justice SJ Kathawalla and justice Riyaz Chagla that the guideline was issued in the interest of aged artists, to safeguard them from Covid-19 as they pose a higher risk of contracting the infection.

Kantharia said the guidelines issued by the state government for shooting of films and television serials, are expected to be reviewed on August 1, after the current lockdown is over. She added that changes might be made but was unable to detail what those changes will be.

Kantharia was responding to a petition filed by 70-year-old Pramod Pandey, who has been earning his livelihood by performing small roles in films and television serials for the past 40 years. He challenged a clause contained in the guidelines issued by the state government on May 30, regarding shooting of film and television serials.

Pandey contended that though aged, he is physically fit, but the government rule deprives him of his only source of livelihood, as it prohibited entry at film studios and outdoor shooting sites to cast and crew members above 65 years of age.

He claimed that perusal of available data makes it clear that a majority of the persons affected by Covid-19 are below the age of 65. He added that has grave hardship and prejudice will be caused to him if he is prevented from participating in the shootings, as he will not be able to survive with dignity and self-respect.

Amicus curiae, senior advocate Sharon Jagtiani termed the restriction as discriminatory, as it singled out senior artists and similar restrictions were not imposed on senior citizens anywhere else. He added that the guidelines were not bases on valid grounds.

The Indian Motion Pictures Producer’s Association has filed a similar petition challenging the same clause. Orders on the two petitions are expected to be pronounced on Friday.

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