‘Gender stereotypes and historical biases have no place in society’, Supreme Court strikes down Maharashtra’s limitation on female performers in bars


New Delhi, February 19: The Supreme Court has declared that gender stereotypes and historical biases have no place in society, while declaring that a gender cap imposed by the Maharashtra government on female performers, limiting them to four, in dance bars and live band, sucked.

A bench consisting of Justices KM Joseph and S. Ravindra Bhat said: “The rationale provided by the Respondents (Government of Maharashtra and others), for upholding the restriction, as they claim to protect women, in the opinion of this tribunal, expose it to the accusation of burying their aspirations.”

Judge Bhat, who wrote the judgment on behalf of the bench, said the state has not independently justified how the genre cap, such as for an orchestra or individual band, is regulatory. The court did not accept the assertion that the restrictions are necessary in the public interest, to promote the welfare of women, to prevent trafficking in women, and that the restrictions are also necessary in the interest of public morality. Sex CD scandal: Supreme Court stays Karnataka High Court order allowing SIT to file report against ex-minister Ramesh Jarkiholi.

Judge Bhat said that the authorities of this court have repeatedly stressed that whenever issues arise, particularly on the basis of gender, it is incumbent on judges to consider whether, if and to what extent these practices are rooted in historical prejudices, gender stereotypes and paternalism. . “Such attitudes have no place in our society; recent developments have shed light on areas previously considered exclusive male ‘bastions’ such as employment in the armed forces, are no longer so,” he added in a 23-page judgment issued on Friday.

Justice Bhat pointed out that if there was a real concern for women’s safety, the state has a duty to create conducive situations for their work, to go the extra mile to facilitate their employment, rather than to thwart it. and stifle their choice. “Such measures – which claim protection, are actually destructive of Article 15(3) because they masquerade as special provisions and have the effect of limiting or completely excluding women’s choice of vocation” , Judge Bhat said.

The Supreme Court held that the restriction directly violated the fundamental rights of performers as well as licensees under Section 15(1) and Section 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

The top court overruled the Bombay High Court, which refused to hear a plea challenging the license condition to keep only four women and four male singers or entertainers on the band bar scene. “In this case, this court finds the gender ceiling imposed by the impugned condition to be zero. It is hoped that this judgment would be yet another lingering and discordant note from a cymbal long silenced, by previous judgments of this court,” Judge Bhat said.

The lawyer, representing one of the licensees, the Priya Hotel, argued that the restrictions on the establishment – hiring only eight artists and in addition, strictly, four men and four women – violated the article 14 and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. Judge Bhat said: “The disputed gender cap (i.e. four women and four men, in any depiction) appears to be the product of a stereotypical view that women who perform in bars and establishments, like the appellants, belong to a certain class of society”.

The higher court made it clear that while the overall limit of performers in a given performance cannot exceed eight, the line-up — all female, majority female, or male, or vice versa — can be any combination. Sheena Bora murder case: Supreme Court requests CBI response to Indrani Mukerjea’s bail plea.

Concluding the judgement, Judge Bhat said “that the condition imposing a gender cap on the number of women or men, who may perform in orchestras and bands, in licensed bars under the rules (licences and Performances for Public Entertainment, Including Cabaret Shows, Melas and Rule of Tamashas), 1960 and other related provisions, is void”. Previously, the high court had ruled that a total ban on dance bars was not warranted.

(The story above first appeared on LatestLY on February 19, 2022 at 5:33 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle , log in to our website latestly.com).


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