HC rider on night life: Ensure women’s safety

Mumbai :  The Bombay High Court on Friday asked the Maharashtra government not to implement its proposed policy to revive the city’s nightlife – which will allow restaurants and bars to remain open 24/7 — until adequate measures are taken to ensure the safety of women.

The Division Bench of Justices A S Oka and A K Menon was hearing a PIL on safety of women in the city.

“We cannot restrict the state from taking a policy decision. However, if such a policy to allow restaurants and bars to remain open 24/7 is taken, or is being taken, then before it is implemented, the government will have to satisfy the court that impact on the safety of women was considered. Don’t implement the policy until you satisfy us that adequate measures will be taken regarding women’s safety,” Justice Oka said.

The proposal to revive night life is a brainchild of Shiv Sena youth wing head Aditya Thackeray, which the government has accepted.

“Unless you conduct a study, you should not take a decision. Consider the impact of such a policy on the safety of women,” the court said.

The court further directed the government to refer to the Justice C S Dharmadhikari committee, which was set up earlier to address the issue of safety of women, for impact assessment.

The committee, while recommending a complete ban on dance bars, had noted that there was a drop in incidence of crime against women when the state had banned dance bars in the past.

It had also suggested that vulgar posts and activities on social networking sites be monitored as such sites fuel violent tendencies among youth and lead to increase in crime against women.

The government has three weeks to revert to the court. — PTI

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