The law committee of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has ordered the civic body to remove unauthorised mannequins that display women’s lingerie across Mumbai in the next 15 days, News18 reported on Wednesday. Sena corporator and committee chairperson Sheetal Mhatre said licences of those found at fault should be cancelled.
“The proposal has come time and again in the past six years in front of the Law Committee,” Mhatre told ANI. “It seems the BMC has no power to act against those who display illegal mannequins.” Mhatre said it is “very embarrassing for women” to see mannequin busts hanging on tree branches with lingerie on them. “There is a proper manner to display it,” Mhatre said. “We have decided to act against those found guilty.” She added that there was no need to advertise lingerie as women know where to find it.
Mhatre, however, clarified that there was no problem with mannequins inside shops. “But if there is display on trees or on the walls or someone carries them out on the streets, then that is illegal,” she told India Today. “At first, a warning would be served and if they don’t heed then strict action will be taken in the form of cancellation of licence.”
Yuva Sena, the youth wing of Shiv Sena, is also supporting the order. “I would welcome this move by our law committee and Sheetal Mhatre ji about illegal mannequins,” Rahul Kanal, a core committee member of Yuva Sena, told India Today. “As a youth we are a part of the progressive mind frame but yet we move around with our family, sisters and female friends. Mannequins hanging around trees and kept along the roads are embarrassing. Mannequins are supposed to be inside four walls of shopping areas. In a society, we should respect something which is private and needs a sense of responsibility when it comes for marketing skills in the right way.”
Lawyer and women activist Abha Singh called the Shiv Sena’s order regressive. “Display of lingerie in the shops is done purely for promotional and commercial considerations,” she told India Today. “The intention is not to promote eroticism. Therefore, this will not get covered under the Indecent Representation of Women’s (Prohibition) Act.”
The demand, however, is not new. In 2013, Shiv Sena corporator Ritu Tawde and others had demanded that mannequins at lingerie shops be removed. However, the administration had informed them that there was no such provision in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act.