Dress code for women bartenders in Bangalore soon

Bangalore, July 10 (IANS) Women employed in bars and restaurants in this tech city to serve liquor and food will soon have a dress code to ensure their safety and security, an official said late Wednesday.

"We have submitted to the Karnataka High Court a set of guidelines to be strictly followed by owners of bars and restaurants employing women to serve their customers," a state home department official told IANS here.

The guidelines were issued on the directive of the high court in response to a petition by the Bangalore Ladies' Working Bar and Restaurants Owners' Association, which accused the police of shutting down bars and restaurants employing women on grounds of indecency and causing public nuisance.

According to the guidelines, the women employed by licensed bars and restaurants should be 21 years and above, wear full trousers and full shirt or T shirt with or without a blazer or a salwar kameez (a Punjabi suite) to prevent any indecent display of their body.

"The high court has directed the city police to allow licensed bars and restaurants to hire women bartenders in accordance with the guidelines and see how they conduct over the next three months," the official said.

Association counsel R. Goplakrishna said the owners would study the notification and find out how best they can comply with it as they would have to bear an additional expenditure to also meet other requirements.

"The guidelines will add to the operational cost of running a bar and restaurant, as owners have not only to pay salary to the women bartenders, but also provide a decent dress and arrange for their transport from home and back to ensure their safety and security," Gopalakrishna told IANS.

In addition to securing license to open and run a bar and restaurant at a hefty fee, owners will have to get approvals from the city civic body - Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) or town municipal council - to employ women. They will also be required to furnish details about women employees to the local police and get their uniform vetted by the licensing authority within 30 days of getting the license.

"The guidelines also mandate installing high resolution CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras of 24 mega pixel in and around the bar, keep its footage for at least three months for verification or investigation and deploy private security guards to ensure their safety and security," Gopalakrishna said.

The government has also banned hiring men, women and transgenders for dancing or any form of entertainment in bars and restaurants.

"Owners have also to ensure that customers do not indulge in gesticulating at women bartenders obscenely, flinging currency notes at them, passing lewd remarks or offering any sort of inducement to them," the official said.

The guidelines include laws applicable for sexual harassment of women at workplace and ban on taking their photographs by customers.

"The city police commissioner will issue the guidelines to all licensed bars and restaurants for compliance within in the next two months," the official added.