SC lays down guidelines on portrayal of disabled persons in visual media, films

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court laid down guidelines against "disparaging" portrayal of persons with disabilities in visual media and films on Monday, saying that terms such as "cripple" and "spastic" have acquired "devalued meanings" in societal perceptions.

The verdict came on a plea filed by one Nipun Malhotra, who submitted that the Hindi film 'Aankh Micholi' contained deprecatory references to differently abled persons.

Pronouncing the verdict, a bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said, "Words cultivate institutional discrimination and terms such as cripple and spastic have come to acquire devalued meanings in societal perceptions about persons with disabilities." Laying down several guidelines, the bench said the film certification body CBFC must invite the opinion of experts before allowing screening.

"Visual media should strive to depict diverse realities of persons with disabilities, showcasing not only their challenges but also successes, talents and contribution to society. They should neither be lampooned based on myths nor presented as super cripples," it added.