women bartenders: case of excise registers against the bar | Kochi News

KOCHI: Excise officers in Ernakulam filed a complaint against the management of a bar, which recently reopened after renovation, for allegedly employing women (including foreigners) as bartenders. A case was recorded after women were found serving alcohol and officers discovered suspected anomalies in the bar’s stock register. Excise officers said employing women as bartenders violated Abkari law and foreign liquor rules.
The case was brought against the Fly High bar located at the Harbor View Hotel along MG Road. The case was filed on Monday citing Rule 27A of the Foreign Liquor Rules of Kerala and Section 56B of the Abkari Act and violation of license conditions 12 and 9A.
The Ernakulam range excise officer registered the case after videos of a drinking party hosted by the bar, as part of its March 11 launch, went viral on social media with the description “the first pub in Kerala”. In the videos, foreign women were manning the bar. We learn that dance and DJ parties were also organized at the bar and that many people attended, including some celebrities.
Meanwhile, the bar authorities have denied advertising that the bar was the first pub in Kerala since the government has not started licensing pubs in the state.
Ernakulam Deputy Excise Commissioner PV Elias has said employing women to serve alcohol is an offense in Kerala. Additionally, officers found that IMFL’s inventory register at the bar was not updated. “Rule 27A of the Foreign Liquor Rules prohibits women from being employed ‘in any capacity to serve liquor in licensed establishments.’ Slapped loads are aggravated and the bar can continue to work. We submitted a detailed report to the Commissioner of Excise. He will decide what action to take, including license suspension,” the officer said.
However, a 2013 HC verdict which upheld a petition filed by two women working as restaurant waitresses/assistants at a hotel bar in Thiruvananthapuram, asking for permission to continue their work, is mentioned by the bar management after registration of the case. But, excise officers said the court’s verdict was specific to the petitioners and that no formal changes were made to Abkari law and foreign liquor rules regarding the employment of female bartenders in the state.
The case sparked heated debates on social media about gender equality in the workplace and the pros and cons of women working as bartenders.

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