The Bombay High Court on Tuesday ordered the Maharashtra government to spell out if a physically fit person, who is above 65-years age, could be allowed to venture out of his or her house to earn their livelihood. The HC has also ordered the state to explain if it considered any data or statistics before restricting citizens above 65-years age from going out in public places.
A bench of Justices Shahrukh Kathawalla and Riyaz Chagla also sought to know from the government if similar restrictions were imposed for people of this age from traveling in BEST buses, trains and aircrafts. A similar clarification is sought if people from this age group are allowed to attend marriages or funerals.
The bench was dealing with a plea filed by one Pramod Pandey, who claims to have been performing small roles in films and TV serials for the last 40 years. He told the judges that performing such small roles were the only source of his livelihood and that the was solely dependent on such jobs in film studios.
Pandey through his counsel Ashok Saraogi further argued that he was physically fit and still he wasn't allowed to enter the studios and was deprived of earning his livelihood. He accordingly challenged the May 30 guidelines for the film industry, which prohibited people above 65 to work.
Opposing the plea, state counsel Purnima Kantharia told the judges that the guidelines provide for virtual casting of actors.
Kantharia was interrupted by the bench saying, "Let us remind you that the actors performing small roles are required to go to the studios and request for work to enable them to have their two meals, and no producer or director is going to shoot their role virtually."
"Thus, we direct the state to file its affidavit explaining 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," Justice Kathawalla said while adjourning the matter till July 24.