Mumbai: A state law which prohibits women from working in bars and restaurant after 2130 hours has come in for sharp rebuke by the Bombay High Court, with the judges
likening the situation to that prevailing in Nazi Germany.
The women, which the law targets, are mostly waitresses and singer.
Bombay Shops And Establishment Act, 1948, has been challenged by Womanist Organisation of India (WOI) and Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (IHAR), on the ground that it is discriminatory. The same rule does not apply to five-star hotels, the petitioners say.
During the hearing yesterday, court was told that women bar employees have to carry a "nokarnama" a document containing their personal details all the time.
"Where are we living? In Nazi Germany?", a livid Justice F I Rebello asked.
In an affidavit filed last year, the state has said that women working at bars come from "the poor strata of the society, and are prone to illegal exploitation at the hands of
male customers, hotel staff, etc. Hence, they are not allowed to work after 9.30 pm".