Eighty women working as waitresses and singers in various restaurants and bars in Nagpada received a major reprieve on Thursday when the Bombay high court restrained the Nagpada police from interfering with their work.
Nagpada police had prevented these women from working at bars and restaurants from July 18, after which they moved the high court.
A division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice Mridula Bhatkar directed the police to let the women resume their jobs from Thursday itself.
“The police may take action if there is a problem in maintaining law and order,” said the judges, adding, “However, they cannot give such oral directions which curb an individual’s fundamental rights.”
The women claimed Nagpada police officials were disallowing them from working as waitresses and singers at various restaurants in the area. The police officers had allegedly threatened to implicate them under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.
“These women have homes to run and their earnings, which include tips as well as salaries, are important sources of income. There is nothing wrong with a woman working till late at night,” their counsel Veena Thadani said.
While the court agreed with the counsel, the judges cautioned that the women should not be exploited. “Ensuring the safety of these women is essential,” justice Majmudar said.