The apex court said in its 55-year-old tradition, the Indian film industry, mainly Bollywood, has allowed only men to be employed as make-up artists. The court described the tradition as "unconstitutional, illegal and the worst kind of gender discrimination", said a India Today report.
The court also summoned the registrar of the trade union of the film industry on November 10. The court had asked the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to compile data on gender discrimination and file a comprehensive affidavit, which was taken up on Monday.
For a very long time now, an unwritten rule in the industry says women can be employed only as hairstylists.
The group of women, who were refused admission by associations of make-up artists in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, filed the petition. The petition filed by a group of women make-up artists, led by Charu Khurana.
"Why cannot a female put make up on a male actor? We are living in 2014 and not 1850 or 1935. A clause or rule that creates such discrimination cannot be sustained. There cannot be exclusion like this," the bench said,
This gender bias is more prevalent in big cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Kochi, observed the court.
The court had made the National Commission for Women a party to the case.
"The issue relates to gender insensitivity as the petitioners, who are make-up artists, are not being allowed to register, as a result of which their livelihood has been affected. The differentiation made by the associations, despite the registrar of trade unions taking objection to it, is not only humiliating but also an affront to their constitutional rights. They have every right to be treated equally," the bench told the union government's lawyer.