[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 13 January 2006, 12:29 GMT
Indian women 'can serve alcohol'
By Shyam Suman
BBC News, Delhi

Indian women can now take employment as bar tenders
The High Court in the Indian capital, Delhi, has overturned a law which banned women from serving alcohol in public places.

Two judges ruled that the 1914 legislation was unconstitutional.

They said the law violated a woman's fundamental right to equality and to choose her own profession.

They were ruling on a petition filed by the Hotel Association of India and two women hotel employees, who said the law was damaging their career prospects.


Judges Mukul Mudgal and HR Malhotra agreed.

They said the law prohibiting women from serving alcohol was an impediment to their career in the hospitality industry.

It's a great thing. I just hope it works because things take a long time in India to change
Anoushka, bar-tending student

The restrictions imposed effectively ruled women out of the essential functioning of the industry, they argued.

Since alcohol was served not only in bars but also in restaurants, at banquets and even in hotel rooms, a woman's right to advance her career in the hospitality industry would be severely jeopardised, their ruling said.

"It is undeniable that women have excelled in the hospitality industry not only in this country but worldwide," the judgement said.

"And the feminine touch indeed lends grace and elegance to the hospitality industry, which grace and elegance is not inherently suited to the male disposition," it added.

Anoushka, a student from Europe who has just finished a bar tender's course in India, said: "It's a great thing. I just hope it works because things take a long time in India to change.

"People are open about drinking but they can't be open about talking about it. So hopefully things will change."

Lawyers representing India's federal government and the local government of Delhi have not said whether they will appeal to the Supreme Court.

Delhi drinking age to stay at 25
28 Nov 05 |  South Asia
Indians embrace wine-drinking
04 Feb 04 |  Business
Sales soar at all-women garage
04 Nov 05 |  South Asia

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific