The state labour department proposes to amend the law governing retail outlets that could require them to put away ‘provocatively-dressed’ mannequins altogether.
The amendment to be made in the Bombay Shops and Establishments Act, 1948, will ban lingerie store owners from displaying skimpily-clad mannequins outside as well as inside their stores. Also, they will not be allowed to put up photographs or posters of models in undergarments or inappropriately dressed live models, which, according to the authorities, denigrate women and portray them as ‘sex objects’. The matter has been put before the law department for its views.
State labour secretary Arvind Kumar confirmed the proposal, saying, “It has been proposed to include this clause in the Act in order to protect the dignity of women, so that they do not feel objectified.
Such shops can do business without such displays. Once this is passed, the BMC can implement it effectively.”
In April last year, Ritu Tawde, Bharatiya Janata Party corporator from Ghatkopar demanded that mannequins be banned to prevent crimes against women and soon afterwards a resolution to this effect was passed by the general body of the BMC.
As the licence department of the civic body cracked down on such displays, shop owners pulled back the mannequins. After a few weeks they were out again. But many shops chose to keep them indoors, where civic authorities said they could not interfere.
Tawde was elated to learn about the latest proposal. “I am very happy about this. It’s better late than never. The fact is that even if the mannequins stand behind glass doors they are clearly visible,” said Tawde.
The BJP leader said such display also goes against the provisions of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986.
Store owners are apprehensive about the impact such a move may have on their business.
Mohan Prajapati, the owner of ‘Glorious’ in Bandra, said, “Without photographs or posters, how will the customer understand what she wants? I fear business will be hit by this move.”