Supreme Court order on Maharashtra dance bars: What stays and what goes – All you need to know

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Published: January 17, 2019 5:43:09 PM

Today, the apex court reserved its verdict on the matter after several restaurant and hotel owners challenged the Maharashtra law. However, it set down a bunch of conditions for the dance bars.

court reserved its verdict on the matter after several restaurant and hotel owners challenged the Maharashtra law. (IE)

The Supreme Court on Thursday relaxed some stringent measures imposed by the Maharashtra government through a law in 2016 on banning the dance bars in Mumbai. In 2005, due to the Maharashtra government ruling to ban the dance bars, as many as 700 bars closed down across Mumbai.

The ban was overturned by the Bombay High court in 2006, and later in 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the Bombay HC’s decision. However, in 2014, the state government again banned the bars by an Ordinance – which the Supreme court found “unconstitutional” in 2015.

Today, the apex court reserved its verdict on the matter after several restaurant and hotel owners challenged the Maharashtra law. However, it set down a bunch of conditions for the dance bars.

Here’s what stays, and what goes:

1. The Dance Bar Regulation Bill, which was unanimously passed by the Maharashtra Assembly on April 13, 2014, prohibited sale of liquor in the bars areas. However, on Thursday, the Supreme Court overturned that rule allowing alcohol in the bar area.

2. The apex court has also brought down the rulemaking installation of CCTV cameras compulsory in the performance, stating it violates the right to privacy.

3. Supreme Court also overturned the rule by the state government that dance bars cannot be within a 1km radius of any educational institution like schools or colleges and religious places. The court observed that the rule is “not reasonable” in Mumbai.

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4. While the Maharashtra rule required a partition between the dance stage and the bar area. However, Supreme Court struck it off.

5. SC also struck down the provision set by the previous ordinance wanting the dance bar owners to have a ‘good character’. However, the court ruled that a person’s ‘good character’ cannot be precisely ascertained.

6. The Apex court, however, backed the government’s ordinance fixing the timing of operation for the dance bars – they are to remain open from 6 pm to 11:30 pm in Mumbai.

7. The dancers in the bar cannot be showered with cash, though, they can be paid tips, the apex court ruled.

8. The apex court said last year that, “total moral policing is going on in the state.” On Thursday, it noted: No dance bars have been given license since 2005 – which can not be done. “A total prohibition cannot be imposed, but it should be regulated.”

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