Maharashtra Orchestra gender cap overturned by Supreme Court

Bar Orchestra Dancing Law Insider

Khushi Doshi

Published On: February 20, 2022 at 14:41 IST

The Supreme Court has overturned the Maharashtra government’s gender cap, which limited the number of male and female performers in orchestra bars to four each, stating that practices or rules based on historical prejudices, gender stereotypes, and paternalism have no place in society.

Only eight artists or singers are permitted on the stage, with an equal number of female and male performers, according to the conditions imposed by the Mumbai Police on restaurants and bars. Over 250 establishments have obtained a permit to hold orchestral performances.

A bench of Justices KM Joseph and S Ravindra Baht declared the circumstance illegal and Void, saying the order on gender-cap (i.e. four females and four males in any performance) appears to be the result of a stereotypical view.

The state Government attempted to justify the condition by claiming that it was put in place to ensure the safety of female performers. It claimed that in bars and restaurants, women are abused and compelled to work obscene dance routines as well as involvement in sexual activities with clients

The Bench was unconvinced and stated that the state should create a safe environment for female artists so that they can perform freely without fear of harm.

The bar owners contended that imposing the condition as the composition of performers was illogical. They claimed that a strict numerical division of equal gender participation in the orchestra band is illogical because an item or piece can involve all male performers, all females, few males and a majority of females, or vice versa.

The Supreme Court ruled that the cap on the total number of performers could remain in place, but not the cap on gender composition. It overturned a Bombay High Court order that had approved police-imposed conditions.

Related Post