New Delhi: The Karnataka government on Wednesday issued a notification, based on the recent Madras High Court ruling, allowing women to work in night shifts from 7 PM to 6 AM in all factories registered under the factories act.

The notification issued by the state government’s Labour Department cited a Madras High Court judgement in which it struck 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.

Karnataka Labour Minister S Suresh Kumar stated that the industry captains demand that whether a woman is allowed to work at night or not should be based on her willingness.

Regarding the safety concern of women working at night, the Labour Ministry in its notification stated that in case of any criminal case, “the employer shall initiate appropriate action in accordance with the penal law”. There should be no delay or discrimination, towards the victims or witness, when it comes to dealing with complaints of sexual harassment, the notification further added.

Factories have also been asked to establish a Complaints Committee for the grievances of women workers, preferably headed by a woman, and with at least half of its members being women.

Prior to the judgement, only those women in the Information Technology and IT-enabled service sectors were allowed to work in the night shifts. With Karnataka’s latest move, women will be permitted to work during the night hours in other sectors as well, including manufacturing.