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It’s Majestic! Cops won’t let women work at bars

Tuesday, 7 August 2012 - 10:40am IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: dna

Livelihood of about 100 women employees of bars at stake. Bar owners puzzled over the move as SC allows such employment.

Upparpet police are allegedly demonstrating an autocratic approach by banning women bar employees from entering their places of work in their jurisdiction. This is being done despite a Supreme Court order stating that women can be employed in bars to serve liquor.

This alleged arbitrary ban imposed by the Upparpet police is affecting the livelihood of at least 100 women bar employees as they are not being allowed to work, and therefore not being paid.
Interestingly, this iron hand approach of Upparpet police continues to affect at least nine bars and restaurants in Gandhinagar-Majestic area—Rajdhani Bar & Restaurant, Aishwarya Family Restaurant, Star Nights Bar & Restaurant, Casino Bar & Restaurant, Shakthi Bar & Restaurant, Rajdeep Bar & Restaurant, Shringar Bar & Restaurant, and Pop Restaurant. However, the owners of these insist that women continue being allowed to work as bar waitresses in several parts of the city, mainly in the south-east and east police divisions of the city. At least 60 bars and restaurants in Bangalore are known to employ women.

The owners of these nine bars have now formed an informal association to jointly resist the dictatorial behaviour of Upparpet police. Their repeated appeals revealed that the Upparpet police were resorting to such measures citing deputy commissioner of police (West) SN Sidramappa’s insistence on banning entry to women bar employees as the Central police division, too, was following a similar approach, according to Parthasarathi S, the owner of one of the affected bars, named Blue Heaven Bar & Restaurant on SC Road, KG Circle, Majestic.

Parthasarathi said: “We are following all the rules and no illegal activities are allowed in our bars and restaurants, but still the police are preventing us from employing women.”

The Bangalore police had earlier banned women from working in bars for about eight months last year, but in the last three months, women have been allowed. The ban was imposed last year when bar raids were conducted across Bangalore and many among them were found to have allowed women employees to dance and solicit customers.

Parthasarathi said that all of a sudden, on Sunday, the Upparpet police approached them and prevented the women bar employees from entering the premises at all the nine bars in the area. The police deployed two constables in front of each of these watering holes to ensure that the women employees did not enter the bars.

“When I contacted Upparpet inspector Virupakshappa, he said the deputy commissioner of police (West) Sidramappa had ordered him to ensure that women bar employees did not enter in the bars. When I asked him why we should not be allowed to employ women despite rules and guidelines being followed by us, he said I would have to ask that to the DCP,” he said.

Strangely, Sidramappa, when contacted on Sunday night, preferred to remain tight-lipped about the whole issue, and even feigned ignorance: “I don’t know anything about women bar employees not being allowed in bars and restaurants. It is the decision of the commissioner of police and any further questions should be posed to him,” he said.

City police commissioner BG Jyothi Prakash Mirji, he was not available for comments.

Parthasarathi, representing the nine bars and restaurants, said the nine bar and restaurant owners had sent samples of the uniforms that the women bar employees were to wear to the police. “They had given their clearance to the uniforms and we had given those to our women employees,” he said.

On Monday, all the nine bars and restaurants decided to call all their women employees to report to work. They also brought it to the notice of the media that no illegal activities were followed in their bars. But Parthasarathi said that when the women arrived, inspector Virupakshappa insisted that they be sent back.

“When I spoke to DCP Sidramappa, he asked us not to employ any women for some time because the central DCP, in his division, had not allowed women to work in the bars and restaurants in areas including MG Road and Brigade Road,” Parthasarathi said.

“We don’t understand. In Koramangala, at my friends’ bars and restaurants, women are allowed to serve liquor. Why are they discriminating against us?”

However, additional commissioner of police (law and order), T Suneel Kumar, said, “Women are allowed (to work in bars) if the bars and restaurants follow the guidelines. I am not aware of our policemen disallowing them to work in the bars.”

The city police’s guidelines for women employed in bars
- A “decent” dress code for women employed as bartenders. The design of the dress, or uniform, of bar girls would henceforth require the approval of the city police commissioner’s office.

- The owner or manager of the liquor vending outlet employing women is free to design any decent uniform for women employees. Once approved, the bar girls are required to wear the same apparel at work.

- Besides the design of the dress, bars employing women should also provide the details of women employees along with their photographs. The police directive also makes it necessary for bars to inform police about any new women recruits 10 days before her date of joining.  Police should also be kept in the loop when a woman employee leaves the establishment.

- The number of women employed in a bar should not be more than one-fourth of the total seats available for the customers. A separate approval will be required for bars to employ women.

- The notification clarifies that guidelines were set to protect women workers from being exploited by bar owners and customers.

- Bar girls have been banned from entertaining patrons by singing, dancing or any other means, and are mandated only to take orders, and serve beverages and food.

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