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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 August 2007, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Female bar ban 'should carry on'
By Jyotsna Singh
BBC News, Delhi

Indian waiters prepare a cocktail in Bangalore
Indian women cannot at present take employment as bar tenders
The government in the Indian capital, Delhi, has said a ban on women serving alcohol should continue because of the negative attitude and behaviour of men.

Last year, the Delhi high court struck down parts of a 92-year-old law that prohibited women from serving alcohol in bars and restaurants.

The ruling was welcomed by several aspiring female bartenders as well as India's Hotel Association.

But before the ban could be withdrawn, the case was back in the courts.

'Rogue city'

And this time, the Supreme Court is due to rule on the issue.

The Delhi government argues that the city's men cannot hold their drink and that is why it is unsafe to allow women bartenders in pubs and restaurants.

This is a government which can't basically enforce law and order and wants to create gender division
Lifestyle commentator Suhel Seth

The government cited several examples, including the killing of the model Jessica Lal, in 1999.

She was shot dead by a group of men at a restaurant after she allegedly refused to serve them drinks.

Delhi has a very high crime rate, but not many are buying the government's argument in this context.

"The men in this city are as good or bad as men anywhere else in the world. There are female bartenders everywhere in the world so the government's argument does not seem justified," said social commentator Kamna Prasad.

A shop selling alcohol in Indian capital, Delhi
It's argued that Delhi men cannot take their drink

Lifestyle commentator Suhel Seth held similar views.

"I think it is silly - this is a government which can't basically enforce law and order and wants to create gender division by saying that Delhi men can't hold their drinks. It defeats logic and intelligence," he said.

The government is supporting a public-interest petition filed by five concerned Delhi residents in the Supreme Court last year who want the ban on female bartenders to continue.

The petitioners have said Delhi is a "rogue city", and not mature enough to have pubs and bars with women bartenders.

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