End Gender Bias in Film Industry Support Staff, says Supreme Court

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End Gender Bias in Film Industry Support Staff, says Supreme Court

Supreme Court of India (Reuters photo).

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court today said there should be no gender bias among those working as support staff in the film industry - hair dressers, costume stylists and make-up artists. And anyone registered to work in one of these fields can work in the others or interchange at will.

"A female artist can become a make-up artist and a hair dresser or a costume stylist; similarly, a male artist can also work in all the categories. There cannot be any exclusivity or categorisation for any particular gender," said a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra

In November, the court had ended a six-decade gender discrimination of women in Bollywood after make-up artist Charu Khurana approached the court, saying she had been denied membership at the make-up artists' union on grounds of gender.

The film industry did not allow women to work as make-up artists, even though they worked in most areas, including as technicians and hairdressers. Trade unions maintained this was to ensure that men were not deprived of work.

Today, Supreme Court's  orders came after Ms Khurana's lawyer Jyotika Kalra told the court that the artistes' union was demanding Rs 1 lakh as enrolment fee, instead of the  of Rs 5,000 when she applied for membership. She also told the court that Ms Khurana has been asked to work only as a make-up artist.

"The judgment has been absolutely misconstrued by the association," the court said after hearing Ms Kalra's petition. "Any person, male or female, can be registered with an association, if otherwise eligible, to become either a make-up artist or a hair dresser or a costume stylist, or all together...  Both male and female artists shall enjoy the same benefits."

The court also directed Khurana to deposit Rs 15,000 as enrollment fee as an interim measure and will take up the issue on February 9.

The court also directed the make-up artists unions in southern states - Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra and Karnataka - to enroll women as make-up artists, hair dresser or costume stylists and end gender discrimination.


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