The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday issued a notice to the Maharashtra government over the new law for dance bar licenses.
The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday issued a notice to the Maharashtra government over the new law for dance bar licenses. The Supreme Court stated that the Maharashtra state government has to file a reply within a period of 6 weeks. Earlier in May, the Maharashtra government had laid down new rules regarding the granting of licenses to dance bars. Though licenses were issued to these bars on the orders of the Supreme Court, the owners of these bars had to fulfil all the conditions laid down by the new law. The Maharashtra government had already delayed the granting of licenses. Later they informed all the applicants that they had to deposit a demand draft of Rs 2 lakh along with their applications to the government. As per the old law, the applicants had to deposit a DD of RS 1.8 lakh per year.
It was later revealed that other conditions were also imposed by the state government such as not allowing of the serving of liquor in the bars. The new law also stated that the bars had to be closed by 11:30 p.m. Among other rules slapped by the state, a dance bar could not be located within a 1-km radius of any educational or religious institution. This stipulation comes as a stringent measure as the city of Mumbai is fairly dense and finding a spot in accordance with these rules was nearly impossible. The state also noted that CCTV camera had to installed inside the bars despite the Supreme Court deeming it as an invasion of privacy. The new law prohibits clothes or dance moves, that could be considered obscene.
Earlier in 2005, before the police and the government first slammed the dance bars, Mumbai had approximately 700 such establishments. The state issued a ban on these bars citing reasons such as obscenity and morality but the case was taken to the Bombay High Court. Since the ban was not applied to elite and 5-star hotels, the High Court had deemed it unconstitutional. The Maharashtra government then took the case to the Supreme Court. The SC , in 2013 had upheld the High Court’s judgement saying that the women dancing in these bars had the right to pursue their profession.