Unlocking Bollywood: Bombay HC allows elderly artiste to step out for a living
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There is good news for the artiste above 65 years of age. The Bombay High Court on Friday quashed the government resolution (GR) which restricted artistes of film and TV industry, above the age of 65 years, to work in studios. The HC held that the restrictions are arbitrary and against the principles of equality and right to dignity.

"We are satisfied that the impugned condition fails to satisfy the requirements of Article 14 (right to equality) of the Constitution of India. We have also considered the impugned condition in light of Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution. The right to earn a livelihood and the right to live with dignity are well-established facets of the Right to Life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution," ruled a bench of Justices Shahrukh Kathawalla and Riyaz Chagla.

"Having concluded that the impugned condition cannot be sustained on account of it being discriminatory and arbitrary, we are satisfied that the absolute prohibition as regards persons above the age of 65 years who earn their livelihood from the film industry (which is allowed to operate), is a measure that violates their right to live with dignity," the judges added.

The bench further said 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.

"However, having permitted the film industry to operate and open, subject to various conditions, the introduction of the impugned condition that places an absolute restriction on persons above the age of 65 years from carrying out their occupation and trade, whilst not similarly restricting persons of the same age who are engaged in other trades or occupations that are permitted to operate and open, would amount to an unreasonable restriction," the judges opined.

The bench's judgement came in two petitions, one by film and TV artist Pramod Pandey (70), and another by the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association, filed through advocate Ashok Saorogi. Both petitioners had challenged the state resolutions issued under its ‘Mission Begin Again' initiative that barred TV and film cast and crew from sets and studious.

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