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SC paves way for opening dance bars, says there shouldn't be a total ban

The apex court also declared that liquor can be served in such bars. It also revoked a provision of the Act that said dance bars should be 1 km away from educational and religious places. The provision which states that CCTV cameras should be made compulsory inside bars was also negated by court.

Saima Siddiqui

Saima SiddiquiBy Saima Siddiqui

Published on 17 Jan 2019 11:30 AM GMT

SC paves way for opening dance bars, says there shouldnt be a total ban
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SC paves way for opening dance bars, says there shouldn't be a total ban
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court has given a historic decision on Thursday, by relaxing the imposition of licenses for dance bars by the Maharashtra Government.

By giving verdict in favor of Maharashtra's dance Bars, SC has paved way for a large number of bar girls, singers and hotel and restaurant owners, who were dependent on such places for their livelihood.

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A bench headed by Justice AK Sikri, validated a few sections of the Maharashtra government's Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women Act, 2016.

SC stated that people can give tips to performers but customers cannot shower cash and coins inside the bars. It also allowed orchestra and allotted a time of five and a half hours for dance performers.

The apex court also declared that liquor can be served in such bars. It also revoked a provision of the Act that said dance bars should be 1 km away from educational and religious places. The provision which states that CCTV cameras should be made compulsory inside bars was also negated by court.

It is to be mentioned that, no dance bar had been granted licence by the Maharashtra government since 2005 which led to great monetary loss of the hotel and restaurant owners.SC's order has now paved the way for their source of income.

As per apex court order, there may be regulations, but that should not amount to total prohibition on dance bars.

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In 2005, the Maharashtra government had imposed a ban on dance bars, putting around 75,000 dancers out of work, allegedly forcing them into prostitution.

Hotel and restaurant owners, bar girls confronted The Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women Act, 2016, by filing petitions against the decision. It came into effect two years after the Supreme Court ruled that dance bars should be allowed and workers there should be treated as professionals.

Maharashtra government said in an affidavit that dances in such bars are derogatory to the dignity of women and dance bars have become places of immoral activities. Anti social elements at these places create a fuss in society.

In August, the court had asked the Maharashtra government to explain why it had not granted licences to even a single dance bar after its many orders. It also said that moral policing is reigning supreme in the state and people are violating the rights of bar dancers by imposing ban on them. This will lead to starvation and prostitution, as these girls have no other means of livelihood. It also said that in modern times the meaning of dignity and decency has changed and things that were earlier considered to be a taboo, have now been declared legal.

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Saima Siddiqui

Saima Siddiqui

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