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Supreme Court lays down guidelines on portrayal of 'persons with disabilities' in films

The court stated that terms like "cripple" and "spastic" had a diminished social value. For the unversed, Nipun Malhotra filed the lawsuit, claiming that the Hindi film "Aankh Micholi" used disparaging remarks about people with disabilities.

Supreme Court lays down guidelines on portrayal of 'persons with disabilities' in films gcw
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First Published Jul 8, 2024, 1:28 PM IST

The Supreme Court on Monday established guidelines prohibiting the "disparaging" representation of people with disabilities in visual media and motion pictures. The court stated that phrases like "spastic" and "cripple" had taken on "devalued meanings" in the eyes of the public.

The decision was made in response to a case brought by Nipun Malhotra, who claimed that the Hindi movie "Aankh Micholi" used disparaging remarks about people with disabilities.

"Words cultivate institutional discrimination and terms such as cripple and spastic have come to acquire devalued meanings in societal perceptions about persons with disabilities," Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud's panel observed in announcing the ruling. The bench established a number of rules, including that before permitting screening, the film certifying agency CBFC must seek the advice of specialists.

"Different realities of people with disabilities should be shown in visual media, highlighting not only their struggles but also their accomplishments, talents, and contributions to society. They shouldn't be made fun of for being mythical or portrayed as super cripples," it added.

Sony Pictures' Aankh Micholi was released in 2023. The film is based on a misfit family is attempting to keep some things from the NRI suitor and his family, to get their daughter married to a prosperous NRI. Directed by Umesh Shukla and produced by Ashish Wagh and Umesh Shukla, the film features Paresh Rawal, Abhimanyu Dassani and Mrunal Thakur in lead roles. 

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