How can a physically fit person above 65 years of age be expected to live a dignified life if he is not allowed to go out and earn his livelihood, the Bombay High Court asked while pulling up the Maharashtra government for prohibiting those above that age on sets of film and TV shows.
A division bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and R I Chagla made the remarks on Tuesday while hearing a petition filed by one Pramod Pandey, challenging guidelines issued by the state government on May 30, 2020, which stated that no cast/crew member above the age of 65 years will be allowed on film and television sets during shooting.
The 70-year-old petitioner said he was doing small roles in films and TV serials for four decades, and that he does not have any other source of livelihood.
He further said in his petition that though he is physically fit, he is not allowed to go to studios and participate in shootings.
The high court told the government that actors performing small roles are required to go to studios and request for work to enable them to have their two meals, and no producer/director is going to shoot their role via FaceTime, Zoom or Skype.
“The state government shall explain in an affidavit how a physically fit person who is 65 years or above is expected to live a dignified life if he is not allowed to go out and earn his livelihood, the court said.
The bench said the government in its affidavit shall also say whether any data or statistics were taken into consideration before issuing the guidelines restraining cast/crew members above the age of 65 years from attending studio/shooting sites.
The affidavit shall also say whether a similar rule is made applicable to individuals who are 65 years and above and are travelling by trains/buses and aircraft, whether a similar rule is made applicable to the employers/staff who are currently attending shops/private offices,” the court said.
It also asked the government to say in its affidavit whether a similar rule is made applicable to individuals who are allowed to attend funerals or marriage functions.
The court posted the petition for further hearing on July 24.