Bombay High Court quashes Maharashtra government’s orders putting curbs on elderly film, TV artistes



Mumbai: The Bombay High Court quashed Friday two government resolutions issued by the Maharashtra government. The Maharashtra government had wanted to bar film and TV artistes and crew members above 65 years of age, from going to work to studios. The Maharashtra government’s resolution also tried to prevent the age group from going t outdoor sets during lockdown.

A bench of Justices SJ Kathawalla and RI Chagla set aside the GRs (government resolutions) issued May 30 and June 23 by the Maharashtra government.

The Bombay High Court bench, however, said that ‘all other advisories applicable for all persons above 65 years of age, will be applicable for the same age group working in the film and TV industry’.

The bench’s judgement came in two petitions, one by film and TV artist Pramod Pandey (70). The other petition was given by the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (IMPPA), filed through advocate Ashok Saorogi.

Both petitioners had challenged the Maharashtra government resolutions issued under its ‘Mission Begin Again’. The initiative barred TV and film cast and crew from sets and studious.

The Maharashtra government had earlier told the bench that the restriction had been issued out of ‘benevolence’. It was meant for the artistes’ own good since stepping outside during the pandemic would put them at risk of contracting the disease.

The court, however, had questioned why the state restricted only TV and film artistes. It pointed out that the government permitted those above 65 years of age in other sectors to go to work and sit at their shops. It said that the state’s decision seemed like a case of ‘discrimination’. The bench had also said at the time that a person could not be deprived of his or her livelihood.

Senior counsel Sharan Jagtiani, appointed as amicus curiae in the case to assist the court, had earlier told the bench that the state’s restrictions had been imposed upon film and TV artistes without due application of mind, and without any basis in law. A detailed judgement of the court is likely to come later Friday.

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