All senior actors and technicians from film, TV, and digital industry have taken a sigh of relief with the August 7 orders issued by Bombay High Court. A division bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and Justice R I Chagla has allowed senior citizens to head back to their work and can resume shooting which was earlier denied as per the state government’s GR in view of coronavirus outbreak.
In the 37 page judgment, the bench observed, “If there is no general prohibition on persons above the age of 65 years from working or practicing their trade in those sectors and businesses which are allowed to operate, an age-based prohibition in only one industry, namely the film industry/television/OTT, without any material to support its differential classification, would constitute an unreasonable restriction.”
After submission of all the replies, court considered it a violation of Article 14 (Right to Equality). “We are of the view that the impugned condition that seeks to apply to persons above the age of 65 who are engaged in only one occupation or trade but not to others of the same class, cannot be said to be a reasonable restriction,” stated the bench.
A PIL was filed by a senior actor Pramod Pandey (69) and Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (IMPPA) seeking the directions to quash the Maharashtra government’s May 30 GR.
In the previous hearing, Bombay High Court had pulled up the state government considering it a discriminatory decision and had questioned the grounds on which the senior citizens above the age of 65 were restricted from working at shooting. Besides that the court had also sought a clarification from the state government about its May 30 and June 23 GRs, whether they were prohibitory/mandatory or advisory/recommendatory.
All the senior citizens are happy with the decision but there are many actors who were denied work in various acting roles after the restrictions imposed by state government.