Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Dec 3:
In a significant verdict, the Orissa High Court today allowed employment of women in bars and restaurants in the state. However, for such employment proprietors of bars and restaurants have to obtain permission from the Excise Board.
The High Court ruled that permission for such employment can be given under sub section (2) and (4) of the section 25 of Bihar & Orissa Excise Act.
Bar owners desiring to employ women for singing have to apply to the Excise Board within seven days. However, bar owners will be required to submit details of these women with their application to the Board, the Court said in its verdict.
The Court said that the Excise Board will within seven days of receiving such application take a decision on it in conformity with the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court and provisions of the Bihar & Orissa Excise Act.
However, it will be mandatory for bars conducting such performances to install close circuit television (CCTV) cameras at their premises, the Court added in its verdict.
“The High Court in its verdict said that since its permissible to conduct such performances after obtaining permission from the Excise Board of the Excise department, bar and restaurant owners can apply to the Board within seven days and the Board thereafter on examination finds that the guidelines of the Supreme Court are being strictly followed then it will issue license to employ women in the bar and restaurant,” said Debasish Das, plaintiff’s counsel to reporters here today.
The Hotel and Restaurants Association has welcomed the High Court’s verdict.
“The High Court’s verdict is welcome. We thank the Excise department and Commissionerate Police for this. We are yet to get the judgment copy. We can give our comments only after going through the judgment copy,” said Satyaranjan Mohanty, general secretary of Hotel and Restaurants Association speaking to reporters on his reactions on the High Court verdict.
Notably, there were allegations of illegal song and dance performances by women in bars and restaurants in the Odisha capital.
Following such complaints Excise department officials and Commissionerate Police conducted joint raids on different bars and restaurants in the Odisha capital and recommended for cancelling licenses of three bars. Bar owners had moved the High Court challenging the decision.