Karnataka bans night shift for women in shops, firms

Friday, 11 May 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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Bangalore: The Karnataka government has banned night shift for women in shops and commercial establishments in a bid to check rising crime against them and ensure their safety and security.

State Labour Minister Iqbal Ansari told reporters here Thursday that employing women for night shift after 8 p.m. by shops and commercial establishments had been made a punishable offence through a gazette notification issued last week.

"We have notified the ban in a special gazette April 30 after receiving the assent of Governor T.N. Chaturvedi to the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments (Amendment) Bill, 2007 on April 27," Ansari said.

Though the ban does not apply to knowledge sectors such as IT and biotechnology (BT) and essential services like hospitals and railways, business establishments, private offices, print media, hotels and entertainment industry are barred from employing women after 8 p.m.

"We will mention the services exempted under the Act along with the government order. Women in electronic media are, however, exempted, as the industry comes under the IT Act," Ansari noted.

The Labour Act 1961 was amended during the budget session of the state legislature in April after members of both the houses approved the amendment to the bill.

"Employers violating the new law will face imprisonment for six months and fines ranging from 10,000-20,000. My department will come out with rules based on the new bill in the next fortnight," Ansari pointed out.

"Women working in the IT/BT sector have been spared under the Act because the industry had taken an exemption in 2002," he added.

Meanwhile, State Women's Commission chairperson Pramila Nesargi said the notification was against Article 21 of the constitution, which guarantees the fundamental right to life.

"Not even parliament can pass a legislation that is against the constitution, which guarantees equal status and no discrimination based on gender. We will challenge the amendment in the court," Nesargi, a noted lawyer and former BJP legislator, told reporters later.
Source: IANS
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