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The Court was hearing a plea by a senior citizen who depends on small roles in film and TV to make a living. Being above 65 years, the petitioner falls in the category of those barred from going outside amid the pandemic
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday sought a response from the State of Maharashtra on how persons above the age of 65 are "expected to lead a dignified life" if they are not permitted to go out to earn their livelihood (Pramod Pandey v. State of Maharashtra).
A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Justices SJ Kathawalla and RI Chagla made the observation while hearing a plea filed by a senior citizen who depends on the small roles and jobs in film and TV studios to make a living.
The petitioner on account of being above the age of 65 years falls in the category of persons that is barred by the State government from venturing out amid COVID-19 pandemic.
In its guidelines issued on May 30, the State of Maharashtra had prescribed that cast or crew members above 65 years would not be allowed at the shooting site. Aggrieved by this provision in the guidelines, the petitioner moved the Bombay Court seeking for the same to be quashed.
The petitioner submitted before the Court that this direction by the State government would cause him prejudice and create hardships for him.
The State, on the other hand, submitted that the guidelines stipulate that casting and other such activities shall be done remotely as far as possible.
In this backdrop, the Court asked the State as to how the persons above 65 years of age are to make two ends meet and live a dignified life if they are unable to make a living. The Court said,
The response from the State is required to also address the following points:
Whether any data/reports/statistics were taken into consideration before issuing the impugned Guidelines restraining any cast/crew members above the age of 65 years from attending the studios/shooting sites;
Whether a similar rule is made applicable to individuals who are 65 years and above and are travelling by trains/buses/aircrafts etc.;
Whether a similar rule is made applicable to the employers/staffwho are currently attending shops//private offices;
Whether a similar rule is made applicable to the individuals(approximately 30) who are allowed to attend funerals or marriage reception/s etc.
The Court will hear the case next on July 24.
The petitioner was represented by Advocate AM Sarogi and the State by Advocate PH Kantharia.