While hearing a petition filed by senior Bollywood actor Pramod Pandey, Bombay High Court questioned Maharashtra government over its May 30, 2020 issued guidelines restraining artists below 10 and above 65 years of age from shooting. HC bench has directed the state government to file its reply by Saturday.
Bombay HC bench comprising Justice S J Kathawalla and Justice R I Chagla stated, “If the state does not prohibit a senior citizen from opening his shop and sitting there all day, then on what basis does it prevent artistes above 65 years of age from going out to work amid the current lockdown.”
“The state’s decision to prohibit the artists above 65 years of age, even if they are physically fit, from going out for shooting and such work, seemed like a case of discrimination, ” added the bench.
The court has sought Maharashtra government’s reply by July 25 explaining the grounds on which the prohibitory directive is issued. The state government is also expected to clarify the data, statistics, or reports which backed these prohibitory orders.
In view of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Maharashtra government has issued a directive prohibiting artists below 10 and above 65 to move and out and going to shooting sets of their film or TV shows.
Senior Bollywood actor Pramod Pandey has challenged the directive through advocate Ashok Sarogi stating that he has been performing small roles in various films and TV serials from the last 40 years. He also mentioned that he doesn’t have any other source of livelihood other than that. Pandey also stated in his petition that he is physically fit but is not allowed to go to work.
Advocate Poornima Kantharia appearing for state told the HC bench that the directive is not discriminatory at all. She further added that prohibitory orders are applicable to all except moving out for essentials.
The court also asked whether all the senior citizens are restricted to resume their work or not. To which the state replied with a no.
Bombay High Court on Friday has appointed Senior counsel Sharan Jagtiani as the amicus curiae for assistance in the matter and will hear the matter next week.