Kerala High Court: Government notification prohibiting employment of women in liquor shops arbitrary

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The Kerala High Court struck down a government notification, prohibiting the employment of women at alcohol shops. In the present case through a rigorous recruitment process, the plaintiff’s were selected for the position of helpers or peons at the Kerala State Beverage Corporation Ltd.  However on the basis of the government notification under clause 37 of Rule 7 (Chapter VI) of the Kerala Abkari Shops Disposal Rules, 2002 and License Condition No: 36 of Foreign Liquor  which provided that ‘No woman shall be employed in any capacity in a toddy or foreign liquor shops’ they were refused appointment despite adequate available vacancies. The court termed the government notification as ‘unreasonable’ and ‘discriminatory’ and in violation of articles 14 & 15 of the Indian Constitution.                                                                                                                               

The court observed that: “Having gone through the decisions relied upon by the learned counsel for the petitioners, I am of the opinion that the condition contained in the notification and the stipulation in Rule 7(37) of the Rules as also condition No.36 contained in the Foreign Liquor Rules as well as in Exhibit P2 Government Order to the effect that women cannot be engaged to work in foreign liquor shops are violative of Article 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India and are therefore unsustainable.”  The court issued directions to the Public Service Commission to issue 'Advise memo' to the plaintiffs for the vacant positions at the Kerala State Beverage Corporation Ltd within 2 weeks.  

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