Mumbai nightlife: HC asks Maharashtra govt to ensure women's safety

The Bombay High Court today asked Maharashtra government not to implement its proposed policy to revive the city's nightlife until adequate measures were taken to ensure the safety of women.

The division bench of Justices A S Oka and A K Menon was hearing a public interest litigation regarding 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 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 policy was the brainchild of Shiv Sena youth wing chief Aditya Thackeray, which the government accepted. "Unless you conduct a study, you should not take decision. Consider the impact of such policy on safety of women," the court said.

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

"The Dharmadhikari committee has time and again given several recommendations. If the policy is introduced, then those will be futile. We will be going a step backward," the court said.

The government sought three weeks to inform whether a policy decision to allow restaurants and bars to remain open 24/7 has already been taken.

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

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

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