Bar girls are now being subjected to a kind of moral test. A proceeding before the Bombay high court has revealed that two minor bar girls rescued by police were subjected to gynecological tests to ascertain if they were indulging in sexual activities or not.
The shocking aspect came to light after mothers of the two minors – aged 16 and 17 years respectively - approached the high court challenging a February 5, 2016, order of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Mumbai city, refusing to handover the girls to them.
On December 20, 2015, Bangur Nagar police had raided Taquila Bar and Restaurant at Goregaon and had found “scantily clothed” 30-35 girls indulging in obscene dances to Bollywood tunes. The police team then stopped the orchestra and apprehended the bar girls as well as the customers.
The two minor girls were produced before the CWC two days later and were sent to a shelter home. Mothers of both the Mira Road residents had then approached the CWC seeking their custody, but by its order of February 5, 2016, the CWC rejected their pleas on the ground that mothers of both the minors had not just failed to take proper care of the girls, rather they were surviving on the income of the girls.
During the course of hearing before the high court, it became clear that apart from calling report from the probation officer and seeking age-verification of the minor girls, the CWC had also sought a report of gynecological examination of the girls to ascertain if they were indulging in any sexual activity, and the report indicated that the hymen of the girls was intact and they had not indulged in any sexual activity. The plea of the mothers was rejected by the high court.
The approach of moral policing is in direct conflict with the view taken by the high court in June 2015 holding that even an accused cannot be subjected to unnecessary medical examinations, as it amounts to unnecessary intrusion to his privacy.
In that case, the court had ordered the Maharashtra government to pay a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to a 31-year-old civic engineer from Navi Mumbai for subjecting him to potency and psychiatric tests following his wife’s complaint in April 2014.
“Medical examination to which the petitioner was subjected to was unnecessary and it was not permitted by law,” the division bench of justice TV Nalavade and justice Indira Jain had said.
“The medical examination was unlawful intrusion on the right to privacy of the petitioner and disrespect to the dignity.”
Apart from directing the government to recover the compensation amount from the erring police personnel, the court had also ordered departmental inquiry against the police inspector concerned for major penalty.