The Karnataka government on Wednesday issued a notification allowing women to work in night shifts (7 pm to 6 am) in all factories registered under the factories act.
The state government has in the notification cited Madras High Court judgement striking down Section 66(1)(b) of the Factories Act, 1948, which prohibited employment of women to work in night shifts, and certain conditions laid down by it.
Currently, women are allowed to work night shifts only in the IT and IT-enabled service sectors.
With this move, women will allowed to work during night in other sectors including manufacturing. Night shifts generally refer to working hours between 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. In India, legislations like the Plantation Labour Act, 1951, Factories Act, 1948, State Shops and Establishments Act, etc. contained provisions restricting work during night for women.
Earlier in 2007, Karnataka government banned night shifts for women, the decision which everyone condemned and perceived it to be It is highly illogical and discriminative. In fact, the Karnataka State Women’s Commission had termed the move as ‘retrograde.’
While the main aim behind introducing such legislation was looked upon as ensuring security for women. It was argued that provisions for safety of women should be implemented rather than their ban at work during those hours.
Where the legislators aim at achieving equality between men and women, restrictions like ban on night shift work for women pose as barriers for their progress.