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(Feb 02, 2008) On December 6, 2007, the Supreme Court of India annulled on grounds of discrimination section 30 of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, as applicable to the National Capital Territory of Delhi, which prohibited hiring men below 25 years of age and women as bartenders in restaurants. As a result of its deliberations on the constitutional validity of section 30, the Court also removed the ban on employment of men below the age of 25 years.

The Delhi government cited examples of the dangerous consequences of the sale and consumption of liquor by young men below 25 and of the vulnerability of women working in bars. Rejecting the contention, the Court observed: "[w]hen the restrictions were in force, they could not prevent such occurrences. If the restriction goes, some such incidents may again happen. But [based] only [on] a pre-supposition that there is a possibility of some incident happening, we cannot declare a law intra vires which is ex-facie ultra vires."

The Court further observed that legislation should be assessed not only on its proposed aims but also on its implications and effects. "The impugned legislation," the ruling stated, "suffers from incurable fixations of stereotype morality and conception of sexual role. The perspective thus arrived at is outmoded in content and stifling in means." (Court Permits Women Bartenders in Delhi, THE HINDU, Dec. 7, 2007,

Author: Krishan Nehra More by this author
Topic: Discrimination More on this topic
Jurisdiction: India More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 02/02/2008