After being rapped by the Bombay high court, the state government has decided to reconsider the ban on women working in bars, restaurants and other commercial establishments after 9.30 pm.
Senior lawyer V R Kotwal, arguing for the state government, on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that the government had decided to reconsider the deadline.
But he didn’t elaborate whether the deadline was to be extended or scrapped.
Kotwal sought time saying the proposal would soon be put before the state Cabinet.
A division bench of Justice F.I. Rebello and Justice Amjed Sayed has kept a bunch of petitions challenging the legal provision prescribing the deadline for working women on April 26.
The petitions challenge the provision in the Mumbai Shops and Establishments Act, which prohibits women working in any commercial establishment beyond 9.30 pm. Their contention is that the provision was gender discriminatory as it treats women differently than men.
Lawyer Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, who appeared for one of the petitioners, pointed out that the Constitution of India prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender and religion. He also contended that the provision also violates the fundamental right to pursue any trade.
“You cannot deprive nearly half the population by enforcing such colonial provisions,” said the lawyer.
But the state has maintained that the provision has been enacted to protect women and there was “no intention to discriminate”. The defence adopted by the state, however, has failed to impress the judges, who last time questioned the mentality behind the provision, which considers women like commodity.