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(Jan 02, 2008) On December 6, the Supreme Court of India annulled as unconstitutional a colonial-era statute that prohibited women, as well as men under the age of 25, from working as bartenders. The ruling gives women the equal opportunity to work as bartenders in India, and lowers the permissible age for bartenders from 25 to 21.

The decision concerned the constitutional validity of Section 30 of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, which prohibited women and men under 25 from employment as bartenders.

In defense of the law, the Delhi government cited prior incidents alleged to show the vulnerability of women working in bars. Responding to those examples, the court stated: "Instead of prohibiting women's employment in the bars altogether, the State should focus on factoring in ways through which unequal consequences of sex differences can be eliminated. It is [the] State's duty to ensure circumstances of safety which inspire confidence in women to discharge the duty freely in accordance with the requirements of the profession they choose to follow." (Supreme Court Permits Women Bartenders in Delhi, The Hindu, December 7, 2007, available at

Author: Krishan Nehra More by this author
Topic: Women's rights More on this topic
Jurisdiction: India More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 01/02/2008