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Last Updated: Friday, 7 December 2007, 16:32 GMT
Indian women win bartender ruling
By Tinku Ray
BBC News, Delhi

Whisky
Indian women could not until now take employment as bar tenders
People in the hospitality industry in India have welcomed a decision by the Supreme Court to allow women to work as bartenders in the country.

An archaic law that banned females from serving alcohol was overturned on Thursday and already women in the profession are getting jobs in bars.

The Institute of Bar Operations and Management welcomed the decision.

Supporters of the ban argued that it could be unsafe to have women bartenders serving drunk men.

'Really happy'

Sandeep Verma of the Institute of Bar Operations and Management - which trains people including many women on how to become bartenders - told the BBC that he welcomed the court ruling, which he had been working for three years to secure.

"Already many in the industry have asked me to recommend women that we have trained to fill jobs as bartenders," he said.

A shop selling alcohol in Indian capital, Delhi
It was argued that female bar staff may be at risk from drunk males

In the same ruling the Supreme Court also lowered the age of men who can work as bartenders from 25 to 21 years of age. All states have their own laws on the issue but this ruling will apply across the country now.

One young woman who is hoping to reap the benefits of this decision is Deepali Dabas.

She has been working in a hotel in Gurgaon on the outskirts of the capital as a hostess.

Trained at the Institute for Bar Operations and Management, Deepali has even taken part in a national competition for bartenders.

"I'm really happy about this decision. Now many girls like me will be able to work in bars. Before we could not express our feelings because of the law, but now that has all changed," she told the BBC.

Murdered

Deepali is skilled in mixing cocktails and can juggle bottles and mixers as well as any man in the trade.

The Delhi government was opposed to allowing women bartenders on the grounds that some men can't hold their drink and that women would be put at risk if they were allowed to serve liquor.

The fears followed the high profile case of the murder of Jessica Lal in 1999, who was murdered while serving behind a bar at a private restaurant in the capital.

But Sandeep Verma said that many women were already working privately as bartenders and officials turned a blind eye to this.

"Today's generation is more advanced and India is not a backward country anymore. So why are we living in hypocrisy?" Sandeep Verma told the BBC. "I think by the end of next year 30% of bartenders will be women."

There are already many women working in bars but only as hostesses or waitresses who can serve food. This decision now opens up the door for those who want to serve alcohol as well.



SEE ALSO
Female bar ban 'should carry on'
22 Aug 07 |  South Asia
Indian women 'can serve alcohol'
13 Jan 06 |  South Asia
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

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